The Real Monty Comes Again, Darlington Civic Theatre

THERE were more men taking their clothes off, more women screaming, but fewer jokes this time.

The first Real Monty was a huge hit, being the funniest and best produced in the play-comedy-stripshow genre which has become so popular.

This sequel features more lads, but many of the same jokes and storylines.

There are six fit blokes for the women to ogle: Steve, Carlo, Leroy, JJ, Tony and Darren. They are willing to drop (nearly) everything, for our entertainment.

Then there is Dennis - a clich of a geek, with glasses and no co-ordination, who turns into a sex god when dressed in a pin-striped suit, or boxer's gear.

The story line has two sets of rival strippers battling for top-of-the-bill at a local theatre. They practise their routines, much to the crowd's approval, and that is about the sum of the plot. Some gags really hit the mark, some miss by a mile.

The male writer, Michael Rattigan, should note that jokes about the size of women's bottoms do not go down well with an audience featuring three men.

The first act lacked pace, which was made up more than adequately in the second, thundering to a thrilling finale which had some gasping, some screaming, some cheering and some laughing.

Poor Leroy was, we think, only meant to remove one G-string at the end of his routine. He removed two and was left with only his hand to cover his modesty, while the rest of the cast, and most of the audience, dissolved into giggles.

A good night out for the girls, with or without a plot.

The show runs until Saturday. Evenings at 8pm. Tickets: £7-£14.50. Box Office: (01325) 486 555

Dawn Turnbull