Preview: Harlequin Productions going Full Monty at Aberdeen Arts Centre

Ed Dow, Michael Barrie, Stuart Mearns, Director Kenneth Lypka, Liam Christie, Jack Elvey, Angus MacIntosh and choreographer Steph Ross

The cast of smash-hit musical The Full Monty may or may not leave their hats on at the Aberdeen Arts Centre.

Stuart Mearns, owner and producer of Harlequin Productions which is staging the show, said: “Both the film and the musical have become famous for that iconic final scene.”

“It is undoubtedly the most anticipated closing scene in musical history and there is no getting away from the fact that it is a major selling point,” he laughed.

While most people consider this “big reveal” the highlight of the show, Stuart really enjoys the more emotional moments.

He added: “We have struck up a great bond during rehearsals which has made the last number a lot less nerve-racking.”

While most producers stay behind the scenes, Stuart is ready to bare it all in this new production, portraying one of the lead characters.

He said: “I play Dave Bukatinsky who is mostly remembered for the Shrink Wrap scene in the film.

“Dave struggles with unemployment and its effect on his marriage. And he has a heart of gold!

“He is a lovable, good-natured soul with body weight and self-esteem issues.”

The well-known musical tells the story of six unemployed steelworkers who decide to try their luck and form a strip troupe in a bid to make money.

But there is far more to the show than the final scene. The Full Monty discusses relationships and parenting too.

Stuart added: “It is all set against a background of unemployment and self-doubt.

“It is honest and thought-provoking, but equally, it is a show with brilliant comic moments and fantastic musical numbers.

“It is unashamedly feel-good, making winners out of men who at the start felt like losers.”

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards in 1998 and won the Oscar for the best music, original musical or comedy score. Aberdeen audiences will be able to hear different tunes.

However, if the score is as good as the music in the company’s most recent show – a co-production with Castlegate Arts of the Scottish premiere of Murder Ballad – audiences will be in for a great night of entertainment. Stuart brought the theatre company out of retirement seven years ago. He said: “From the start Harlequin has been about bringing something fresh to the city and we remain committed to that.

“We appreciate that the local economy has had an effect on people seeing live theatre and we are so grateful to those who continue to support us.”

The very first production Stuart put on stage was the adaptation of Spring Awakening.

Stuart said: “The reception of the show was more than we could have anticipated. “It was a bold choice – an emotional coming-of-age musical based on a 19th century German text.

“Not exactly the typical jukebox musical audiences flock to.

“The Full Monty will be our 11th show.”

Stuart invites all musical lovers to see their new show.

He said: “If you are looking for a fun night, look no further than The Full Monty.”

See the feel-good musical from Wednesday till Saturday, March 10, at the Aberdeen Arts Centre.

Performance times vary.

VIP packages, which include pre-show reception, are available for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening performances.