- December 3, 2018
From the cobbles of Weatherfield to the disused steel works of Sheffield, actor and director Rupert Hill talks to Vicky Edwards about being at the helm of The Full Monty which retuirns to Theatre Royal Brighton in the New Year.
You have directed movies, but you are best known as Coronation Street’s Jamie Baldwin and for being a previous Full Monty cast member. Does having done the show before give you any sort of advantage as a director?
Yes; it gives me huge insight into the way it works. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel in every scene but there are things that I want to explore. The main thing for me was that all the female characters felt a bit secondary, so I am trying to make the relationship between the couples to be more meaningful and integral to the story.
Is it true that you set the cast homework so they could really understand their characters?
I got the cast to watch the Ken Loach film Raining Stones. It was the film that inspired the Full Monty – they wanted to make a film that Ken Loach characters would watch. I think that’s one of The Full Monty’s strengths and it is unbelievable how relevant that film and our show feels now; payday
loans, unemployment and anger at society.
The guys stripping at the end is a defiant gesture
But The Full Monty is also very funny, right?
It is. But comedy is what northerners use to get by. The financial situation the characters find themselves in is desperate, but that mix of comedy and
relatability makes the show part story and part party. Ken Loach meets Cabaret!
Do you think the strip works better on stage than it did in the movie?
I do. It is celebratory and it works better on stage because the audience become part of the scene. The guys stripping at the end feels like a defiant gesture and the crowds go wild!
I can’t imagine that I will ever experience that kind of response from an audience again. You can actually feel the sound wave hit you and it is wonderful. But I really want to earn that and for the audience to buy into the story.
Theatre Royal Brighton
21 – 26 January.
0844 871 7650*