BWW Review: CLO's THE FULL MONTY Turns Up the Heat at the Benedum

BWW Review: CLO's THE FULL MONTY Turns Up the Heat at the Benedum

Before there was Magic Mike, there was The Full Monty.

Based off the 1997 British film of the same name, The Full Monty debuted as a Broadway musical in 2000 and revealed just how far and how bare six unemployed men would be willing to go to earn money again.

Leading the six steel workers is Jerry Lukowski (Andy Kelso), a single father scraping his bank account to pay for child support. Him and his fellow factory workers are "Scrap" from the first number, when it is revealed that their factory is shutting down. Jerry knows that in order to keep seeing his son, he needs to come up with money, fast.

The easiest way to make $50,000? A strip show, naturally.

The idea to put on a show dawns on Jerry and his friend Dave Bukatinsky (Matt Dewberry) after they realize how much the women in Buffalo are willing to pay to see Chippendale-eqsue dancers fulfill their fantasies.

Add in a couple of other factory workers, desperate and down on their luck, and a show worthy of the Vegas nightlife is instantly born! Well, not quite.

In addition to their sub-par physique, the "Hot Metal" men struggle with the most basic of dance moves in their rehearsals. A pelvic thrust never looked so uncomfortable. Yes, the show is a comedy if that couldn't be detected from the outlandish plot!

Jeanette Burmeister (Anita Gillette), the pianist who shows up with her piano and all, is hilarious. I don't think "things could be better" without someone of Ms. Gillette's caliber playing the role.

Similarly, the principals balance each other harmoniously and compliment each other's talents. In order for the guys to go the full monty, they need the support of each other to let their steel curtains down.

Pittsburgh audiences can empathize with the Buffalonians in the story; a fellow city of the rust belt, Pittsburgh has felt the collapse of the steel industry, too, although there were no strip clubs that emerged from the rubble (or at least none on record!).

The Full Monty does not involve audience participation, but the cast bridges the gap in multiple scenes, making the audience truly feel like they are in the show. There were some kinks being worked out during opening night - stumbled over lines, scene changes - but there were no wardrobe malfunction; as the title suggests, however, there is a climactic end to the show with intentional costume removal.

Indeed, a show about six men dancing would not be complete without the women motivating them. From Georgie Bukatinsky's (Natalie Charle Ellis) pleasant voice and compelling presence to Estelle Genovese's (Katie Anderson) exuberance and delightful acting, this show does not forget about or minimize the female roles.

I'd like to say that this show is perfect for the whole family, but you might want to keep the kiddos at home for this Girls Night Out. "Hot Metal" is only in town for one night only, but The Full Monty can be seen running through July 15.

To see or not to see: 7/9; Recommended Show

Photo Credit: Matt Polk

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From This Author Dylan Shaffer

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