The Full Monty, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until April 27.

Everyone went home happy. A major film event has now become a major theatrical event.

The Full Monty, back in 1997, was a landmark film which dived deep into the despair of joblessness to produce the feel good-movie of the decade.

A generation on, its writer Simon Beaufoy has gone back to the story to bring it to the stage – and he doesn’t disappoint.

Of course, we aren’t looking at remotely the same thing, and the despair which made the film so poignant has largely been edged out by the desire simply to entertain.

Where the film provided rich social commentary with its dissection of the hopelessness of unemployment, the play goes mostly for the laughs – but it does so in style, on the back of top performances from the blokes who find themselves going the Full Monty.

The Calendar Girls tweely did it for charity; these guys, in the film at least, do it for their own sense of self-worth, and with Kenny Doughty capturing much of the Gaz swagger and Roger Morlidge nailing Dave’s sense of emasculation, it all builds hilariously to a conclusion that brings the house down.

The northern accents aren’t always terribly easy to decipher, and in the vast Mayflower auditorium, one or two of the women seem to offer just the suspicion that they are shouting rather more than they are acting.

But none of these quibbles dent the fun of it all, which certainly seems to be what the producers are aiming for.

Compared to the film, there’s no denying that this is The Full Monty with some of its emotional stuffing removed, particularly in the roles of Gerald and Lumper; but as a great night out, you’ll struggle to find its equal.

Phil Hewitt