The latest version of the Eric show has rolled into town and this time takes on its own version of the Full Monty. And, as regular attenders will know, a riotous evening of fun and music is to be had by all.
Eric (David Graham) made enough money from his previous venture to jet off to Las Vegas with his girlfriend Bev (Laura Sheppard). Much to Eric’s amazement a drunken night ended at a wedding chapel and Eric and Bev return home penniless and jobless but married. Bev hits on the idea of emulating the Chippendales – much to Eric’s disapproval – and recruits a team to perform in the function suite of the North Stafford Hotel.
The new dance troupe includes Brian (Joe Sterling) who is the runt of the group but goes under the nickname Nobby (don’t even ask why!!) and is made fun of by Steve (Alan Howell) – a local lothario whose performances with the local ladies are maybe not all he hopes. These two are joined by Alessandro (Alex Wengel) – Bev may be married but that doesn’t stop her having hots for the Italian – and Tony (Harvey James) who has been made redundant and is desperate for work. Tony’s hopes of earning a crust are frowned upon by his daughter Ruth (Georgia Gagen) who conspires with Eric to put a stop to the planned concert after catching her father in a compromising position with Bev.
Will the men get to do the full Monty? The audience certainly hoped so as they watched the hilarious attempts to get a routine together and there were many opportunities for audience participation. The first attempt to strip is a truly comical scene but the final scene of Act 1 shows how much they have progressed and is an excellent way to enter the interval. Congratulations to Alex Wengel for his choreography throughout.
David Graham’s productions always give an evening of fine comedic theatre but also provide a night of musical nostalgia. Once again, the music from the 60s and 70s provided a showcase for the performers’ talents. Every member of the ensemble took a turn at being lead singer with Harvey James being particularly strong and there was noticeably good percussion from Dan Graham. Sweet Caroline was enthusiastically received and by the time that Build Me Up Buttercup was played even the most reticent audience member was up on his feet.
A special mention must be made of the efforts made by the New Vic staff. It is always a satisfying sensation to attend performances at the Vic but special efforts were made for this performance as we make our way back to normality. Potential theatre-goers should have no fears of attending as everything possible was done to ensure the patrons’ comfort and safety.
This performance drew a thoroughly deserved standing ovation with all cast members putting in strong performances. In the words of Sweet Caroline it was “so good, so good, so good” and leaves you desperate for the next time.
Early in the piece Eric says “Who would want to see a bunch of men taking their clothes off?”. Well. This audience did and if you want an evening of laugh-out loud comedy and great music, then you should too. Don’t worry. You can leave your hat on.
Eric’s Full Monty continues until September 4th. For ticket information contact 01782 717962
Here is the audio of the Live review broadcast on Moorlands Radio 103.7fm