‘THEY may not be young, they may not be pretty and they may not be right good. But for one night only, they’re here, they’re live - and they’re going for the Full Monty!’

Simon Beaufoy’s words - from a play packed with zinging one-liners - perhaps sum up best what it is about this story that still makes us laugh and cry 25 years after it started life as a hit film.

Set in post-industrial Sheffield at the end of the Thatcher era, The Full Monty is about men who find themselves on the scrapheap after their jobs in the steel industry cease to exist. When a male strip show packs out a local nightclub, the lads decide to give it a go. As well as putting a bit of cash in their pockets, it turns out to be a journey that goes some way to restoring the dignity, pride and sense of identity of a group of working-class men who have each become desperately lost.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bill Ward as Gerald and Neil Hurst as DaveBill Ward as Gerald and Neil Hurst as Dave (Image: Ellie Kurttz)

The themes are, says Keighley's Simon Beaufoy, a Trojan horse. It is of course a comedy about male strippers - but along the way it covers issues such as fathers’ rights, depression, suicide, homosexuality, unemployment and body image.

The Full Monty is very funny, but the comedy comes from the tragedy these men face. Forced to accept that they no longer have a job for life, they're left struggling with the fall-out - leaving Gaz with no access to his young son, Dave with crippling low self esteem, Lomper with crushing loneliness and Gerald stripped of his status. Humour is their coping mechanism.

There's a great sense of brotherhood in this production, thanks largely to a terrific cast. Danny Hatchard is an endearing Gaz, a dad bristling with frustration and haunted by loss, Neil Hurst stole our hearts as Dave - the cling film scene is sublime - and the excellent Bill Ward gave a lovely performance as Gerald, the white collar man living a lie. Great performances too from Nicholas Prasad, heartbreaking as Lomper, charismatic Jake Quickenden as Guy and Ben Onwukwe as Horse, who lit up the stage with his audition.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jake Quickenden as Guy Jake Quickenden as Guy (Image: Ellie Kurttz)

Special mention to talented young Theo Hills, who got some of the biggest laughs as Gaz's son Nathan, and Katy Dean, Suzanne Procter, Laura Matthews and Alice Schofield as the women whose lives are also hit by unemployment.

Beaufoy's sparkling script is a joy, and Jasmine Swan's evocative set - steel towers set against a sprawling cityscape - is a stark reminder of what the community has lost. The use of music in the play - a brilliant Sheffield vibe, with songs from the likes of Pulp and the Human League - is a nice touch.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The show has lots of laughs - and some memorable stripping scenesThe show has lots of laughs - and some memorable stripping scenes (Image: Ellie Kurttz)

This is a cracking night out, with lots of laughs and some memorable stripping scenes. It's also a deeply poignant reminder that often it is the men who get left behind, and struggle to survive.

* The Full Monty runs at the Alhambra until Saturday.