Thursday, February 13, 2014

Memories are made of this

The Full Monty, a Sheffield Theatres revival heading for the West End, exposed itself briefly at Theatre Royal Bath en route.  Like its stablemates Brassed Off and Billy Eliot, this heart-string-tugger is given heart only by its context: the economic plight of northern working classes in the 1980s. Trumpeting, dancing, stripping ~ just different ways to highlight the poignancy of the mens' emasculation when their jobs and entire way of life were axed by Thatcher.

Located among the abandoned steel-factories of Sheffield, with a fantastic set to evoke that mighty dereliction, the wider context of this structural dismantling is sketched in with Job Club banter and individual domestic crises as Gaz (Kenny Doughty) rounds up his recalcitrant Chippendales. The finale of this tale of a motley crew who “thought we could make a bob or two by taking us clothes off” is the literal 'reveal', the route via gags rather than dramatic tension. 
Directed at a somewhat stately pace by Daniel Evans, there's a strong male cast ~ standout performances from Roger Morlidge as fat Dave, Simon Rouse as dapper Gerald, and especially Craig Gazey as Lomper the thwarted suicide.  After the interval the pace hots, and the ladies of Bath went as wild as the Sheffield wives as the climax approached. Overall more sentimental than raunchy, but often very funny and the soundtrack is great.
And finally...  Like a genteel 19th Century dinner-party hostess I generally avoid reference to politics or the weather on my blog ~ facebook's the place for those tirades ~ but as England literally submerges here's a blog from campaigner Jane Young that sums it all up, and an image of the A361 across Somerset.  Lest we forget, though looks like we'll have till May to etch the memory of this winter,
When disabled people can’t get suitable housing, we have no money. 
When we need accessible public transport, we have no money. 
When poor families can’t afford both food and heating, we have no money. 
When people who appeal an incorrect “fit for work” decision need money to live on while their decision is “reconsidered”, we have no money. 
When those who care 24/7 for family members are penalised financially simply to remain in their homes, we have no money. 
When A & E departments are under severe strain and sick people are waiting hours even to get into the hospital, we have no money. 
BUT when homes in middle England are flooded, money’s no object and we’re suddenly a wealthy country.

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