Kai Owen Returns to The Full Monty
The cast of The Full Monty have just hit the road. Our Press Officer Charlotte caught up with Kai Owen who plays Dave about what it’s been like stepping back into Dave’s shoes for his return to the play.
For anyone who hasn’t seen The Full Monty tell us a little bit about it and who you play?
First and foremost I play a character called Dave in The Full Monty. It is a story set up in Sheffield about a bunch of blokes who are down on their luck, the whole country has been under pressure and all the wonderful steel works they are used to working in have closed. The jobs they were promised for life were no longer there. They basically find themselves skint with no hope.
One evening Gaz and his best mate Dave stumble across a busy working men’s club that’s full of screaming women and they wonder what is going on. The landlord tells them it is a strip group called the Chippendales packing the place out and making a fortune. Gaz is struggling to pay the maintenance fee for his son and Dave has lost his mojo, as lots of people who are out of work do. Gaz comes up with the idea to strip for one night only, to raise some money to see his son. So he goes about gathering a bunch of lads to create this gang, six men of all shapes and sizes who have their own issues, and they come together for one night to do the Full Monty.
It is a story of hope, it’s a story full of humour, a story full of heart and a story that resonates with audiences today. And it is just a really really really good night out. The film was the most popular British comedy of all time, if you’ve seen the film it is the film on stage. It is just a great night out.
What was your first introduction to The Full Monty? Was it the film?
It was the film! I remember the first memory was the word of mouth and the buzz of it. I was just at drama school, everyone saying have you seen The Full Monty, it is a good old fashioned British comedy. I don’t think I saw it in the cinema mind you, but I would have seen it on VHS (back in the day) or maybe DVD possibly just about. I absolutely loved it and I was a big fan.
This isn’t your first time in the play so what keeps you coming back?
Well, it is my second tour. The first one was amazing. It is such a great part and a great thing to be a part of. I’ve done quite a bit of theatre but you never get a reaction like you do when you are in The Full Monty. Everybody knows the story and it is a fantastic night out, every line is great. It is a really good part for me and the audience love it, I get to visit all these great cities and it sells out fast in venues so if you want to come do get your tickets soon. It is a great buzz, great company, I’ve got to say working for the producer David Pugh was a joy, so the offer to come back wasn’t really a hard question I knew I had to come back. There are some old faces, some new faces on this tour and it is a joy to do. And at the end of the day, as an actor you need work. Like everyone you need to be working so to be able to work on something that is also a joy is a pleasure.
What is your favourite moment in the play? – if you had to pick
It is easy to say the end, the climax. It is brilliant, it is a highlight. There are so many, there is a great scene at the top of act two that lasts about 15 mins and it is constructed so well. Act two opens with the guys learning to dance, it tentatively builds up. I always sit there and think how good the scene is, it is a laugh a second. Every line is hilarious but it also brings meaning and moves the story along. It works a treat on stage, when the robbers come in and their all in their pants. And then I do like the scenes where Dave is with Jean, where his mojo is completely gone, he’s at his lowest, he’s self-conscious, he’s just depressed. He’s overweight and he’s just not happy. He has banter with all the lads and then he has tender and real moments with Liz who plays Jean and they can be quite moving and touching.
Does the finale ever get easier? You’ve obviously done it a lot of times but does it ever get less nerve-racking
The finale the dance gets easier, that’s the hard bit learning the dance moves. But then when you’ve cracked that they go, but yeah you’ve got to strip off your clothes at the same time. I have never had a buzz like it standing behind the curtain to go on and the music kicks in, that buzz and the reaction is brilliant. I have never had a feeling like it, I am looking forward to it in the end. It does get easier, it’s a bit of banter, and the audience make it. An older actor told me that in the theatre “you are all invited to the same party”, if you give us more we will give you more. With this the audience are with us the entire way and the reaction is through the roof.
What is your funniest or most embarrassing audition story?
Oh Gosh, good question. Wow! I’ve had so many auditions. I must have made a fool of myself so many times. I think I’ve been a little bit overfamiliar with the panel a couple of times, like giving them a hug and they’re not a hugger, I’ve said daft things. Commercial castings are the ones I find really strange, they ask you to do the strangest things like riding a camel through the desert whilst eating chocolate bar and winking to the camera. A mate of mine passed out in an audition when he was auditioning for a Father Christmas audition. He was listening to an iPod and they told him to rock out to it, and he rocked out a bit too hard and next thing he knew the panel were trying to wake him up going “hello hello”. I’ve come back from auditions and thought what was all that about.
My last question is why should people come to Southampton to watch the show?
Oh my what a great night out, if you’ve seen the film it is the Full Monty on stage. It is full of heart, it has a wonderful story and all the themes are relevant to today it tackles mental health issues, people insecurities, sexuality, and money. It shows that through the darkest times, the hardest times if you stick together with a bit of heart and positivity good things will come. The show is a sure fire hit and we will not fail to keep you entertained.
Kai and the rest of the cast will be performing at Mayflower Theatre from 11- 16 February 2019. Book your tickets here: https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/the-full-monty-2019/