There's a certain symmetry between the plot of The Full Monty and the making of the stage version.

In the film, the jobless group of steel workers go one better than the Chippendales by letting it all hang loose.

So how do you trump one of the highest grossing and best loved British comedies, which even got Prince Charles shaking his royal posterior?

By putting the full goods on display, naturally, despite the best efforts of several thousand watts of back-lighting.

Simon Beaufoy's adaptation of his own screenplay is essentially a greatest hits compilation, building inexorably towards the big reveal.

It's like a drawn-out training montage from one of the Rocky films, with the victory jig atop the flight of steps replaced by the removal of the red leather thongs.

In going one step further than the movie, the play inevitably forfeits some of the film's subtlety.

This is a bolder, brasher product but none the worse for it, with the audience encouraged to clap, holler and shimmy along to great effect.

What works for some of the memorable set pieces, most notably the audition scene, detracts from others like the dole queue dance, which is stripped of its spontaneity.

Despite an endearing performance from Jack Hollington as the young Nathan, meanwhile, the central father-son relationship is a shade saccharine for my taste; a touch too Love Actually, perhaps, but maybe that's the cynic in me speaking.

To exaggerate the highs, Beaufoy really rubs our faces in the dirt at the outset.

The rusting steel factory which was a backdrop on the big screen dominates the stage throughout,  providing a permanent reminder of Sheffield's ravaged job market.

The spectre of Margaret Thatcher looms large too, in the shape of the factory's wilful crane, mock-affectionately nicknamed Maggie.

The cast's withered manhood is exposed, metaphorically speaking, from the beginning. The men have lost their livelihoods, pride and even their children. The final assault on their sex comes when a tipsy female punter pees against the wall of a nightclub where she's been watching the Chippendales.

That only makes their path to redemption all the more enjoyable as we get to see them showing off some Sheffield steel in more than one sense of the word.

The feel-good rush is every bit as rewarding as it was first time around in the late-90s, making this definitely more big banger than undercooked chipolata.

* The Full Monty is at the Noel Coward Theatre, in St Martin's Lane, until June 14. For tickets, visit or call the box office on 0844 482 5141.