BWW Reviews: THE FULL MONTY at City Theater - Fun & Nudity in Maine
While you may be primed for seeing the stage version of The Full Monty based on seeing the movie of the same name, you'll be surprised that the stage show presents in depth characters, emotional scenes and true life situations that make great storytelling. The characters boldly face such obstacles as unemployment, divorce, and depression but always with a comic flair. The show is loaded with fun musical numbers, creative choreography, and hilarious sight gags from truly absurd situations.
Under the direction of City Theater Artistic Director, Linda Sturdivant, this production is great community theater entertainment.
Six steelworkers in Buffalo, New York become unemployed and desperately need to find a way to earn some money, gain self confidence and get their lives running smoothly again. Jerry (Chris Austin) has survived a divorce from ex-wife Pam (Rebecca Cole), can't find work and the legal system threatens to take the shared custody of his only son (Gaia Ayres).
Dave (Ryan Lane) copes with being overweight and a marriage to Georgie (Ashley Christy) that has lost its sparkle.
Harold (Jonathan Carr) tries to maintain his successful image for his wife, Vicki, (Sarah Thurston) hiding the fact that he, too, has been unemployed for months.
The story is rounded out by Malcolm (Jim Gaddis) who reaches the bottom of despair, Horse (Thomas Smallwood) who copes with the "shortcomings" in his life, and Ethan (JP Furey) who gets to strip with the other guys because of a very special talent. (It can't be described. You have to see it to believe it.)
At Jerry's insistence, this unlikely group decides to perform as male strippers for one evening, an effort that will earn them lots of cash and renew their self respect.
The humor arises from seeing six regular guys try to become experienced male strippers complete with bumps, grinds and flashy moves. Jeanette, a piano accompanist full of caustic one liners (adeptly played by Gretchen G. Wood), adds to the fun of their transformation.
Musically speaking, the onstage orchestra dominates the vocals a bit too often. There are a few challenges as well with a sound system that echoes and fades out through the expansive (but gorgeous) space at City Theater.
Vocally, the men struggle in the first number, "Scrap," but recover nicely in other tunes. Austin is solid in the lead role and does best in the middle of his vocal range. Gaddis and Girard are the singing powerhouses in the production especially in their prayerful tune, "You Walk With Me".
Christy and Thurston know how to sell a song and belt out a tune in their number, "You Rule."
Smallwood as "The Big Black Man" and Wood as the piano playing theater veteran create some of the more engaging characters of the evening.
As for the nudity in the show, you'll experience a real show stopper when the entourage dances in their sequined thongs in an action filled finale. Don't worry though. There is a lot that is still left to the imagination.
The Full Monty is one of the only shows in the summer season where you can see comedy, music, dancing and nudity rolled into one.
The Full Monty runs through Sunday, July 27. Info and tickets are at citytheater.org.
From This Author Dan Marois