Entertainment & Arts

The Full Monty's West End run to end early

The Full Monty
Kenny Doughty (right), who plays Gaz in The Full Monty, said he was 'devastated and heartbroken'

The West End version of The Full Monty is to close after five weeks, two-and-a-half months earlier than planned, due to poor ticket sales.

The play, which was adapted from the hit 1997 film about hard-up Sheffield steelworkers, opened on 20 February and was due to run until 14 June.

But its last performance at the Noel Coward Theatre will now be on 29 March.

Producers producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers said "not enough of a West End audience" had bought tickets.

The show was recently nominated for an Olivier Award for best new comedy and had also received glowing reviews from critics.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, actor Kenny Doughty, who plays Gaz, wrote: "I'm devastated and heartbroken.

"Yesterday, on the day we had two full houses and two standing ovations, in the week our play got an Olivier nomination, we were given the shocking news that the play is being pulled.

"We were summoned to a full company call on stage immediately after curtain call - you could still hear the whoops and cheers from the audience behind the curtain as the producer gave us our two weeks notice.

"I am utterly devastated not only for myself but for every single soul that has given their all for this play. I am so incredibly proud of this play and everybody in the Full Monty company.

"We delivered night after night. The audiences loved it. We got amazing reviews. An Olivier nomination... We deserved better."

'A certified smasheroo'

The news puzzled some critics, who expected the play to be a hit. The Stage newspaper's Mark Shenton wrote that he was "amazed" by the announcement.

"I'm not saying that it was any kind of theatrical masterpiece, but it had all the ingredients for what I imagined would make it a certified smasheroo: an already beloved title, a smashing production, and the titillating promise of a bit of male nudity. What could go wrong?"

In his review in The Telegraph on 25 February, critic Charles Spencer wrote: "If ever a show had 'big hit' written all over it then it is this wonderfully entertaining and deeply touching stage version of the successful British film The Full Monty."

Even The Guardian's Michael Billington, whose two-star review described it as "a missed opportunity", also declared: "I've no doubt it will go on to make a packet."

The play originated at Sheffield's Lyceum theatre in February 2013 before going on tour. It went on to win the UK Theatre Award for best touring production.

A statement from David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers said: "It is with great sadness that this show will close despite having played to packed houses on its UK tour.

"Simply not enough of a West End audience shared in the excitement of this terrific production."

'Disappointed'

A further UK tour will go ahead, beginning in Manchester on 11 September, they added.

Sheffield Theatres chief executive Dan Bates said: "We are disappointed that, despite glorious reviews in Sheffield and London, The Full Monty will be closing earlier than planned in the West End.

"However, we're proud to have produced such an exceptional show."

The Full Monty's demise follows recent early closures for other new West End shows.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Stephen Ward, about the figure at the centre of the Profumo scandal in the 1960s, will shut on 29 March after less than four months.

Sir Tim Rice's latest project From Here to Eternity will also close on 29 March after a six-month run, with Sir Tim saying "we haven't had the numbers of audience that we'd hoped for".

Last summer, the curtain came down on Spice Girls musical Viva Forever after six months following poor sales and damning reviews.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites