THE bleak unemployment of the late Eighties and nineties in the steel city of Sheffield does not entirely sparkle the taste buds as as an entertaining story backdrop.

But with a very strong script, multi- talented cast and an audience who are with you all the way, The Full Monty always becomes a very satisfying piece of theatre where pathos and fun go hand-in-hand.

Here, working-class men who have been thrown on the metaphorical scrap heap are encouraged to try their hand at stripping to get some cash.

If the Chippendales can do it then why not this diverse gang of well- meaning, likeable lads?

For a start . . . they are not the Chippendales.

And that's an inspiring starting point.

Writer Simon Beaufort's smash hit 1997, low-budget film script was an engaging layered piece of social observation.

A feel good movie from an unlikely source.

The theatrical version conveys its gritty yet sympathetic storytelling.

Gaz (Danny Hatchard) is the driving force.

He wants to ensure he has a continuing strong relationship with his son Nathan while his wife has left him and is living with another man.

But with jobs few and far between he is as desperate like a Yorkshire Yosser Hughes without the aggression.

Money, self-esteem and sheer determination echo throughout the two-hour 20 minute production.

The ensemble crew bounce off each other so much so that you do care about what happens to each and every one of them very early on.

There's superior Gerald (Bill Ward) who hadn't told his wife he was made redundant six months earlier and diet-conscious Dave (Neil Hurst) who finds a novel quick-fit use for cling film when it comes to losing weight.

And there's also Ben Onwukwe's 'Horse' who - despite rusty limb joints - can still move and shake.

Director Michael Gyngell keeps a nicely balanced pace throughout ensuring there's laughter and reflection in equal measure.

Full marks to outstanding ten-year-old actor Rowan Poulton as Nathan.

He is a name to look out for after a very confident and assured performance on press night.

Designer Jasmine Swan has also created a 'star' with her set design - a moveable jigsaw-like structure that is wheeled on and off and slotted into place to become a factory, job centre, street and club house.

For those who loved the film all the famous scenes are here in this vibrant touring production.

Liverpool loves The Full Monty as the opening night ovation proved as they applauded the now legendary finale of You Can Leave Your Hat On.

Four stars - Full On!

It is on until Saturday. Tickets from