The Full Monty at Manchester Opera House – a hilarious walk down memory lane

A nostalgic watch as six blokes from Sheffield bare all to earn some extra cash. (Contains affiliate links)

Kristen MacGregor-Houlston Kristen MacGregor-Houlston - 16th February 2024

The theatre adaptation of the groundbreaking cult classic movie The Full Monty has thrusted its way onto the stage in Manchester, making us both laugh and cry… sometimes at the same time.

On opening night, the Manchester Opera House is quite the experience, the foyer awash with excited northern women – your Nanny Pats to your Auntie Jeans and just about everything in between. There’s a hungry twinkle in all of their eyes as they practically clamber over each other to get through the doors and into their seats.

For anyone who may not have seen the 1997 classic (or you just hadn’t been born yet), the show is set in Thatcher-era Sheffield, where many of the steelworks were being closed down.

It follows Gaz (Danny Hatchard) and his best friend Dave (Neil Hurst) who, along with other members of the cast, have been let go from their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet.

Gaz’s antics have got him in trouble and he risks losing access to his son unless he can pull together the child maintenance cash.


The local Working Men’s club is visited by the sexy male strippers The Chippendales, inspiring him to pull together a group of out of work pals to strip for cash.

The film was ahead of its time, featuring a storyline of openly gay characters (Guy, played by Jake Quickenden and Lomper, played by Nicholas Prasad) which was relatively unheard of with section 28 and the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ being prohibited at the time. This theme is carefully and comically handled within the show, although some ‘of the time’ vernacular is used early on.


The set on stage is based around the steelworks, with everything having an industrial feel – you are immediately taken back to the 90s terraced streets of Sheffield.

The cast are all lively. You can tell they’re excited for their first night. It was, however, a bit of a slow start in my opinion. Possibly down to me slowly being reacquainted with the storyline which I hadn’t clued myself back up on, or maybe it was the slightly dated jokes, but it took me a little while to warm up.

Whilst Neil Hurst (Dave), Bill Ward (Gerald) and Ben Onwukwe (Horse) all gave particularly stand out performances throughout the show, all of the cast performed brilliantly and were a big hit with the audience.


We’re definitely outliers with some of the jokes, as the rest of the audience are absolutely howling practically the whole way through.

The Full Monty. Credit: Ellie Kurttz
The Full Monty. Credit: Ellie Kurttz

We’re practically deafened upon the arrival of Jake Quickenden – the mums, the huns and all the grans can hardly contain themselves. One woman is even asked to calm down as she was disturbing other audience members.

As the story continues, the lads recruit their former boss and Conservative party supporter Gerald (Bill Ward) to teach them to dance. An unlikely friendship is formed, showing how hard times can cross party lines.

The final performance is something to behold – a fantastic display of body positivity, where there is literally a body for everyone. The women in the audience are losing. their. minds. One has to be asked to ‘sit down’ three times by Opera House staff.

All in all it’s a light, funny and heartwarming performance that is well worth having a ladies’ night out to watch. The show is on a short run, closing on Saturday 17 Feb, so get your tickets while you can.

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Featured image: Ellie Kurttz