The morning after opening night in her ‘second home’ of Leeds, Tracy Brabin is still buzzing from the overwhelmingly positive reception The Full Monty received.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic ! We’re all very tight, one big gang and we can’t wait to go to the West End in January.”
Despite being one of the most recognised faces in television, taking the show to theatre’s spiritual home will be a first for Tracy, who is from Birstall, but now lives in London.
“It’s always been one of my professional ambitions and it’s going to brilliant to have an early tea, pop on the tube, and say ‘I’m off to work.’”
The Full Monty has been produced by Sheffield Theatres’ Daniel Evans and adapted for the stage by the film’s writer Simon Beaufoy – something that attracted her to the play.
Tracy, who went to Heckmondike Grammar School, said: “I was quite nervous when we started rehearsals because I am such a big fan, and it’s such a fantastic project.”
The play has toured since February, and opened in Leeds on Monday.
“It’s been so great to finish the tour in Leeds. My daughter is at Leeds uni and she came along to opening night with a gang of her mates. They couldn’t believe the free food at the party afterwards!”
Tracy is kept busy in the play with three characters, Linda, the wife of former steelworks gaffer Gerald, party girl Sharon and stripper Annie, who does a hilarious audition for the boys’ strip group.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m really busy backstage, transforming from one character to another with these brilliant wigs and costumes,” Tracy said.
“When Annie, the stripper, comes in, you don’t even think it’s the same actress who played Sharon or Linda. Sharon’s in her 20s and Linda’s in her late 50s – it’s really nice to be able to use your full range, something that’s not really possible on television. But that’s the magic of theatre, with wigs and costumes you can be completely transformed and the audience suspends belief.”
The high comedy of the play has been in stark contrast to some of Tracy’s other work, writing for shows like Hollyoaks, where she worked on a big domestic violence storyline, and Shameless.
And Tracy’s other big project at the moment, her first novel, Paradise, could not be further from the giggles of The Full Monty.
The novel, which took about a year to write ‘inbetween jobs,’ was inspired by her work at a writer’s group for victims of torture and tells the story of two asylum seekers.
Tracy said: “It came from the premise that when the Home Office decides that these families must go back ‘home’, what the effect will be on the children. These are London kids, born here, who grew up here, and they don’t know the country there are being taken back to.”
Tracy is in the process of finding a publisher for the novel, which she admits used her own daughters for inspiration. “My daughter read it and said ‘you’ve nicked our dialogue,’” Tracey said, “But people say you have to write what you know. ”
For tickets for the West End, visit www. fullmontytheplay.com.