THE HILARITY leaked out into the foyer leaving Alhambra’s first showing of Simon Beufoy’s The Full Monty. On a chilly Monday night 700 seats were filled for the London West End performance based on the 1997 hit film.

Wolf whistles echoed the theatre, which had a high women to men ratio, long before the curtains had lifted.

Politics, unemployment, poverty, homosexuality, depression, failed relationships and body image are, just to name a few, covered in the story following unemployed steelworkers in Sheffield at the end of Margaret Thatcher’s era. But the big issues are in no way a drag as comical one-liners and comments are sprinkled throughout between the cast.

The empathetic audience quietened as it followed out-of-work and desperate-for-money dad Gaz (talented and cheeky Gary Lucy), his son Nathan, reluctant to dance at first and weight-conscious Dave (funny Martin Miller), conservative chap Gerald (hilarious Andrew Dunn), snake hips Horse (smooth Louis Emerick), lonely lad Lomper (brilliant Bobby Schofield) and gutsy Guy (energetic Rupert Hill) as they set out, through the leadership of Gaz, to become Sheffield’s answer to Chippendales male strippers.

The first half lacked some pace but this did not overshadow the deep growing bond between the lads and great heart-to-heart moments.

As auditions for dancers started, the pace quickened and there was roaring laughter as the wannabe strippers had a go at getting their kit off.

Believable heartbreaking moments between Gaz and Nathan remind the audience that the story is one of great financial struggle and not just about lads stripping for the fun of it, while Bobby Schofield and Rupert Hill’s double act is moving and done well as they explore the stigma and issues facing some men and their sexuality during the ’80s.

Leading up to the finale’s big bare-all reveal there was a will they-won’t they moment. But my fingers were crossed that there wasn’t a repeat of Manchester’s show, which due to a lighting blunder left the audience with more than they bargained for, because I feared for the ladies behind me who were screaming at just the sight of a torso!

Its not too late to grab a viewing of the performance – the boys are here until Saturday. Contact the Alhambra’s box office on 01383 740 384 for tickets.