THEATRE fans are in for some Hot Stuff when The Full Monty comes to town.
The stars of the stage adaptation of the hit British film may have been told they can leave their hats on, but audience members will be hoping they don’t when they arrive at the Sunderland Empire.
The show, based on the 1997 film of the same name, follows six out-of-work Sheffield steelworkers who decide to make money by forming a striptease act.
It was adapted for the stage by Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of the film, and includes all of those famous moments, from dancing in the dole queue to the famous Full Monty strip.
Louis Emerick, best known for his portrayal of Mick Johnson in soap Brookside, stars as Horse.
He said: “The show is going really well. We started off last September in Manchester, that feels like ages ago now.
“We got off to a really good start and we had a lot of feedback from the audience on Facebook and Twitter saying they loved the film and weren’t sure what to expect from the show, but that they liked it even more which is a huge compliment really.
“I think the show resonates a lot more with people up north because they can really identify with the characters who are going through unemployment because of all the cuts to the steelworking and mining industries.
“The show really does pay homage to the film and it’s got all those famous moments in it that you can tell people are just waiting for.
“The moment that music starts when we’re all standing in the line at the dole queue, everyone just starts going wild because they know what’s going to happen.”
Louis said there was one scene that he was a bit apprehensive about.
He said: “The first time we did the big closing scene in rehearsals, there was just the six of us in a room with the director and the choreographer, and without the lighting tricks.
“When we stripped off we were all trying desperately to look each other in the eye.
“When the show was opening, we had first night nerves and nerves about this scene on top of that, but now at least it’s always easier than that first night – we always ask the lighting guy what he’s drinking before anyone else though.
“The audience knows what’s going to happen of course and as soon as that music starts, the atmosphere is just fantastic and we really feed off it.
“I was asking some of my mates if they were going to come and see the show but they said it wasn’t one for them. For some reason, blokes think they can’t go to see it and that it’s just for women, but it’s really not, it’s not all about the stripping.”
The show is closer to home for Louis than it is for some others, as Paul Barber, who played Horse in the film version used to be his brother-in-law.
He said: “Paul lives in Ipswich and we’re there in a few weeks’ time so he’s going to come down and see the show.
“I think it’ll be amazing to know that the original Horse is in the audience, not just for me but for the other guys too. It’ll be such a buzz.
“It’s great playing him and we’ve got such a good cast headed up by Gary Lucy.
“One of the great things about doing a tour like this is having that great mix of people alongside you, and without trying to sound too corny, it really is a pleasure to be up on stage with these lads every night.
“We’ve been doing the show for a long time now but it still feels really fresh every time we go out there.”
Louis added: “This is going to be my first time in Sunderland so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I love it up in the North East and if the audience in Newcastle last year is anything to go by, it’ll be a great run. I’m expecting the Mackems to be just as loud.”
The Full Monty runs at the Sunderland Empire from Monday, February 23 to Saturday, February 28.
Tickets cost from £12.50. To book, go to www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland or call the box office on 0844 871 3022.
We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away for the opening night show at 7.30pm.
To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us the name of Louis’s character in Brookside.
E-mail your answer, along with your name, address and phone number, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries must be in by noon on Friday.