BWW Review: THE FULL MONTY at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
You won't hear me complain about a musical with male strippers, but I got a lot more than I bargained for with The Full Monty, now playing at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre.
The Full Monty musical (with a book by Terrence McNally and music/lyrics by David Yazbek), based on the 1997 movie, isn't too far of a departure from its film counterpart, aside it being set in New York vs. England.
After losing their jobs, a group of steelworkers decide to put on a male striptease act after seeing the attention received at a Chippendale's performance. They hope women will still be into their average bodies and amateur performing skills as long as they put enough heart into.
The group, dubbed Hot Metal, is led by Jerry (Russell Mernagh), who's trying to keep his son by paying child support. There's also his friend, Dave (Chris Mauro), who's going through some insecurities with his body that are affecting his marriage. They find Malcolm (Zach Holden), a young security guard who lives with his mother, while saving him from a suicide attempt. Next, they recruit former foreman, Harold (Josh Kellman), from a dance class, hoping he'll help with their choreography. Through auditions, they finish their crew with Ethan (Neil Stratman), who's got a huge dick (to be blunt) and just wants to run up walls, and "Horse" (Brian Maurice Kinnard) who's got some serious dancing skills despite his age. They are also joined by Jeanette (Sharon Sachs), a showbiz vet who brings along a piano to accompany the boys.
While it's a bit of a goofy premise, the show's plot has a lot of deep moments. Jerry's just trying to keep his kid and move on from a broken marriage. Dave's body image issues are raw and relatable. Malcolm's overbearing mother is a driving force in his life. There's also the underlying issues of unemployment and finding the kind of strength expected from men.
Directed by Jeff Duke, Rocky Mountain Rep's production has an excellent balance of fun and forthright. It's great to watch the guys build their confidence and comradery, and it's sobering to watch them struggle through it. Each of the principal actors brings a solid depth to his role.
Set design by Reuben Lucas has a great flow between locations, complemented strongly by a standout light and projection design by Joseph A. Burke. Choreography by Duke and Jennifer Lupp is highlighted with the kind of vigor you'd expect from a bunch of blue-collar workers. While nothing extravagant, it's a treat to watch.
While you might go in presuming just a lively night out, you're also given an earnest peek into the kind of struggles you don't see in every musical. It's much more rewarding than you expect.
The Full Monty plays on select days through August 25. Tickets and info are available at RockyMountainRep.com.