Soap star Gary Lucy reveals all as The Full Monty prepares to visit Norwich Theatre Royal

The cast of The Full Monty (C) The Full Monty

The cast of The Full Monty (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

Gary Lucy will be celebrating his birthday in Norwich in his birthday suit. We find out how he feels about baring all on stage, the kind of role he dreams of having on TV and the restaurant he loves to visit when he's back in Norwich.

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

You can keep your hat on when The Full Monty visits the Theatre Royal in Norwich but actor Gary Lucy will be preparing to remove everything but his when he appears in the show he's made his own.

The show about six out-of-work steelworkers from Sheffield with nothing to lose has taken the world by storm and is one of Britian's most successful shows ever. Based on his hit film and adapted for the stage by Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy, this hilarious, heartfelt production is one not to miss.

Directed by Coronation Street actor and former Full Monty cast member Rupert Hill, the show's cast is led by Gary Lucy (Hollyoaks), Andrew Dunn (Dinnerladies), Louis Emerick (Benidorm), Joe Gill (Emmerdale), Kai Owen (Torchwood) and James Redmond (Hollyoaks).

The play was written in 2013 and made its debut in Sheffield before running in the West End in 2014, going on to be nominated for Best New Comedy at the Olivier Awards. It features hit songs from artists including Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones. The show will be at Norwich Theatre Royal from November 26 to December 1.

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

We grabbed five minutes with Gary for the big reveal…

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Q: Tell us a bit about the show and your part in it?

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

A: I play Gaz. I've been doing it for about four years now, on and off. It's a fantastic show, a juggernaut of a show, a monster really and it just keeps going. Everybody absolutely loves it - it's a laugh a minute on stage for us and for everyone in the audience. We really feel that.

Q: What makes you come back to it again and again?

A: It's like my best friend. It's just great. I thoroughly enjoy doing it and hanging out with my pals – some old, some new. It's been a great experience. It's different every night. The audiences are different every night as well. We just buzz off it – it's great.

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty

Gary Lucy (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

Q: Do you try to come afresh to each new tour?

A: The main story is the same with the factory worker losing his son and he's lost his job. That relationship is very important to me with the son, but a different director comes in and they have their own ideas, so we do come at it afresh.

Gary Lucy as Gaz in The Full Monty (C) The Full Monty

Gary Lucy as Gaz in The Full Monty (C) The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

Q: Rupert Hill, the director on this tour, was in the first tour as an actor with you – has that enabled him to bring a more knowledgeable perspective to it?

A: Yes - he's really brought some great moments to it. Changed the music, re-blocked some of the scenes: he's really changed the dynamics on stage. Having been in it before, I think it really helped him to know what was working and what could maybe do with tweaking. The tunes in the play are fantastic. Rupert has done a great job with that.

Q: Because of one iconic moment at the end of the story, The Full Monty is looked on as a ladies' night out, but there is much more to it, isn't there?

The Full Monty

The Full Monty - Credit: The Full Monty

A: There's a lot of issues within the play that the characters are going through which I think are very relevant today, with all the body-conscious issues and the guy struggling with his sexuality and my father/son relationship. I think there are a lot of moments which are very relevant that men can watch and see bits of themselves or bits of their friends within it. It's a blokes' story really, but the women love watching it because it's a great laugh and they can get an insight into exactly what's going on inside our heads.

Q: The Full Monty moment at the end, is that something you go into the gym to prepare for?

A: Fortunately we can get away with it because we are all supposed to be steelworkers, so we can go on and fudge it. But I've done it so many times now I don't really think about it.

Q: Is there another moment in the play that you particularly relish?

A: I love watching the dole queue, although I'm not in that scene, because obviously that's iconic, and there's a strip scene when my character messes up his dance in front of his son - I enjoy that one. It's fun when he thinks he can do it but really he can't.

Q: The whole cast looks as if they are having fun on stage, does that translate into you relationship with everyone on the tour?

A: Yes, we are pals and it's really good and I think that shows on stage. It is 'come and join the party' – that's what it feels like.

Q: You started in the business quite young - did you always want to be an actor?

A: No, I wanted to be a footballer originally as a kid but fell into acting at the tender age of 16, one of the Dream Team, then moved up to Liverpool at the age of 17 to do Hollyoaks and, touch wood, haven't looked back really from there, so I've been very lucky.

Q: Your storylines have taken you in and out of Hollyoaks several times – what have been the highlights?

A: Well, obviously the male rape story. It was a real baptism of fire, I was only 17. It was the first time male rape had ever been done on British television and we were very proud of covering that taboo subject at the time. I won best newcomer at the British Soap Awards. Since then, Corrie and a couple of other shows have covered it. I've just done a big story with my son in the show, which I went back for, which was to do with grooming and the football coach which is all very relevant and topical right now. It was a very tough storyline to play out but they treated it very sensitively and responsibly and we worked very closely with the Survivors Manchester charity. They do a good job of covering these subjects for an important demographic.

Q: What other TV roles have you particularly enjoyed?

A: I had six years on The Bill and I thoroughly loved playing PC Will Fletcher. It was great playing cops and robbers - I enjoyed it. And Footballers Wives was living the dream. I didn't have to work quite as hard in the training for that, but I don't play football any more now I'm 36.

Q: Have you done any other stage work?

A: No. I did a panto with Cilla Black many moons ago in 2010, but The Full Monty was my first theatre work. It was never a conscious decision not to do stage work. It is just how the work came in. I think it would be very tough to top this one. This is such fun and we get lots of audience feedback on this. I'm just lucky. I have always worked and had good jobs come through and hopefully it will continue.

Q: Is there any genre of TV you would like to do?

A: I've never done any period - I'd like to do a period drama. I'm quite into Vanity Fair at the moment, although The Bodyguard is on the other channel and my missus likes to watch that. But yes, I quite like that at the moment, so maybe some period drama.

Q: Have you had any other unusual jobs away from acting?

A: I was a market trader. My mum and dad had market stalls and I did it as a Saturday job. But not for long as I got Dream Team for Sky One when I was 16. I had a property company in Europe. It went well for a while. We had a good run in Mallorca, Italy, Spain, Portugal, but eventually, like many others, we got caught by the financial crash because people stopped buying.

Q: You're a father now. Do any of you children want to follow you into acting?

A: No. I have three kids – a 13-year-old girl, seven-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. One doesn't get off his computer and the other one's into horses and I don't know what the three-year-old is going to be but she is a little monster, so who knows. Yeah, it's full on – for my wife!

Q: This will be the third time you have toured to Norwich with The Full Monty – is there anything you are looking forward to revisiting in the city?

A: We can't wait. We love Norwich. It's a great city, lovely people, great audiences and it really feels like they love the whole journey the characters go on, and I particularly like the canteen in the theatre so I'm looking forward to coming back there. They keep me well fed and I need it on tour so it's good. I like to wander around a bit when I am in Norwich - there are some nice bars and restaurants.

Q: You'll celebrate your birthday while the show is in the city – do you have any birthday plans?

A: Yes, it will be my birthday on November 27. I would like the audience to sing happy birthday to me and bring me some cake – no, only joking! But I look forward to seeing them all on my birthday in my birthday suit.

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