The Full Monty probably conjures up images of wannabe strippers with nothing more than hats to cover their dignity.

But the two leading actors in the latest Gilbert & Sullivan production are quick to point out that the Broadway musical is about so much more than the "Girls Night Out" the crowd may be expecting.

Michael Hind and Leon Waye insist "stripping is just a minimal part of the show" as a group of friends come up with a bold way to make some quick cash. As the "guys try to be men" they find renewed self-esteem, discover the importance of friendship and learn some valuable life lessons.

The actors admit they "got a lot of dropped jaws" when they told family and friends about their starring roles in The Full Monty musical. But they believe the all-singing and all-dancing show will strike a chord with every member of the audience watching at City Hall Theatre from October 8 to 18.

Waye said although the audience would see "all 365Ibs of him with his shirt off"  the show was more about individuals facing and overcoming their demons.

He said: "I know Bermuda is probably thinking it's only a taking-off your clothes type show.

"But it's a lot more than just stripping, it touches on lots of powerful issues. There are lots of deep, impacting moments.

"The stripping off is just an excuse to tell a great story."

Hind added: "It's about a group of average guys who are discovering themselves as they deal with issues everyone can relate to. These are guys trying to be men.

"It's a story of everyone's life, everyone can connect to it."

The Full Monty started life in 1997 as a comedy film set in the working-class city of Sheffield, England, it was then 'Americanised' and became a Broadway musical in the year 2000. It tells the story of six unemployed men who decide to form a male striptease act in an attempt to make a name for themselves. As well as plenty of laughs, The Full Monty touches on serious subjects such as fathers' rights, unemployment, relationships with women, impotence, depression and attempted suicide.

Neither Hind or Waye actually auditioned for their parts. Waye was planning to audition but had lost his voice during a humanitarian trip to Haiti, so had no choice but to send in a DVD instead. While Hind simply sent in a You Tube video of himself singing on stage with The Kennel Boys after his dad bumped into the producer in the grocery store.

Despite the unconventional selection process, they secured themselves the two leading roles in The Full Monty - playing the two characters who set up the stripping group.

Hind plays wannabe macho man Gerry Lukowsky, who comes up with the idea of stripping for the love of his 12-year-old son. Hind describes his character as "a bit of a scam artist, a bit of a dead-beat, actually he's a a dead-beat, actually he's a complete screw-up!"

Waye plays Gerry's best friend Dave Buckatinski who reluctantly agrees to strip as he struggles to deal with his weight and to become "man enough" for his wife. Waye said: "Dave has lots of issues he has to deal with and his crazy friend Gerry messes him up even more as he always leads him down the wrong path!"

Since the end of August The Full Monty cast of about 20 has been busy rehearsing for up to four hours a day, seven days a week at The Old Berkeley Institute. In addition to this the actors also receive vocal coaching.

As well as getting to grips with leaving very little to the imagination while on stage, both actors are getting their heads around having to juggle acting, singing and the one that takes most practice, dancing. They also both have full-time 'day' jobs - Hind as manager of the Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery and Waye as a clinical biochemist for Bermuda Hospitals.

Waye, who is from New Brunswick, Canada, has regularly appeared in plays and has also done TV and film work. This is his third G&S production, having appeared in Beauty and the Beast and Ragtime.

Hind previously worked with his father at Jabulani Theatre Company and spent "many days" singing at Oasis with The Kennel Boys. But as far as musical theatre is concerned he's had no experience whatsoever and admits he's "finding it a heck of a lot harder than he thought it would be." He added: "I'd done acting and singing but had never put them together and the dancing is killing me!"

But the actors can't sing the praises of The Full Monty enough, especially the soundtrack, which features all original scores described as "more rock and pop than traditional music theatre."

Waye added that all the songs were "remarkably good, very funny or both."

Tickets for The Full Monty at City Hall Theatre from October 8 to October 18 go on sale on Monday.
Is it really The 'Full' Monty?

The story of a group of male strippers trying to make a living by getting their kit off - there can only be one question on everyone's lips.

Yes, people want to know if they are going to see anything. You know the real deal, the whole hog or the full monty as the name suggests.

Full nudity on stage would be quite an eyebrow raiser for the conservative church-goers of Bermuda.

But the answer is no, well you aren't meant to see anything anyway! The guys have the decency to 'cover themselves up' in thongs and to strategically put their hats in the right place at the right time for most of the show.

Marjorie Stanton of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society insists: "It'll be snappy, you won't see anything."

But the G&S Society say the musical is not suitable for children. They have been advised to add the warning of 'adult content and adult language, partial nudity' to all promotional material.