★★★ | Get Em Off
Well, it’s not exactly The Full Monty – it’s called ‘Get ‘Em Off!’ Set in the suburbian enclave of Croydon, ‘Get ‘Em Off’ takes place in the only gay bar around for miles – The Golden Canary – and it’s a dive.
Run by proprietor/proprietress Quinny, a/k/a Baz (Dereck Walker), it’s a bar that needs some spicing up. So it’s his employee Mitch (Joe Goldie) who comes up with the idea of turning Monday night into a gay strip competition to bring in more customers. And so that’s what they do. And they encourage their customers to enter in the hopes of winning the cash prize. Milosh (Michael Nelson), from Kosovo, is one of the first ones to enter, he’s definitely not shy about showing his body. Then there’s Ricky (Ashley Daniels), who is a regular customer to the bar when his boring partner (David Michael Hands) is out of town on business and who actually forbids Ricky from going to the gay bar as he doesn’t think they should lead ’that kind of lifestyle.’ But there’s a spark between Milosh and Ricky that’s palpable.
Meanwhile back at the bar, Baz, all dolled up in sequins and a head wrap, hosts the competition. Mitch urges his all so sexy and very hot straight friend Luke (Tom Bowen) to enter, hey Luke’s wife is about to give birth to their first child so he says why not? And it’s poor Brian (Stuart Harris), Mitch’s school teacher, newly single after six years, trying to find his way back into the gay scene, and finds himself at The Golden Canary. With the strip competition such a success, Quinny decides to enter her men in a national strip competition. So ‘Get Em Off’ follows The Full Monty’s plot where the men practice and practice for the competition where we all know what’s going to happen.
‘Get Em Off’ should’ve been called ‘The Gay Full Monty.’ It’s a camp musical comedy with very funny lines but not very funny nor memorablesongs (one is titled ‘Get Your Dick Out).
The book, by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, gives Quinny some of the best lines in the show, though Milosh and Mitch have some as well. Walker steals the show even when his/her men get naked – he’s hilarious! Hands also deserves a mention as he plays various roles and is unrecognizable in each one of them. ‘Get Em Off’ is not the best show the Above the Stag has produced, but it’s perhaps perfect for the summer season when all gay boys want to do is see to watch light-hearted fare with cute guys and lots of nudity. This is the show for them.
Get Em Off run at Above The Stag until 28/08/16
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.