Bankstown is not the first place you think of for a show about gay men singing love songs to each other before joining a line-up of beefy blokes stripping in the name of art.
But the south-western suburb is playing host to the Sydney premiere of the Broadway musical The Full Monty, which is based on the hit 1997 movie of the same name.
The Full Monty was a critical and box office hit when it first premiered on the New York stage in 2000. When the show opened in Melbourne two years later, however, critics loved it but audiences stayed away in droves.
Bankstown Theatrical Society finally brings the show to Sydney when The Fully Monty opens on 10 June for a limited season.
The Full Monty follows the same story as the movie -“ a group of unemployed steel workers form a strip group in a desperate bid to raise money.
But in the musical, the love story between two of the line-up, Ethan and Malcolm, is one of the central romantic storylines of the show.
Cast member Ben Dodd who plays Ethan says the romance between the men is sensitively explored.
Ethan and Malcolm develop a friendship and then it progresses to a point where they realise it is something more. When Malcolm loses his mother, he sings a song called Wind On My Shoulder at the funeral about how he is now all alone.
Ethan then responds by saying, -˜You’re not alone, you have me with you.’ The love story is taken very seriously and it is not a gag. It is very sweetly done.
While this is Dodd’s second stage gay role (he was in drag for last year’s La Cage Aux Folles), he says the finale of the show will mark his first ever nude appearance.
In the number, Let It Go, the six strip down and do the full monty -“ with some modesty preserved by strategic use of lighting.
I have stripped down to my jocks before on stage and, earlier in The Full Monty, I show my bum, but the last scene will be my first ever nude scene, he laughs.
But I am not that worried. When I am on stage, I am a different person and am that character. In this case, I am playing Ethan and he is the one stripping, and so I feel protected by being someone else, although I am being very nice to the lighting guy to make sure the blackout happens at the exact moment it needs to.
The Full Monty is on at Bankstown Town Hall from Friday 10 June to Saturday 18 June. Bookings: 9676 1191.