Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Full Monty"

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note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Carl A. Rossi


"THE FULL MONTY"

music and lyrics by David Yazbek
book by Terrence McNally,
based on the motion picture released by Fox Searchlight Pictures
and written by Simon Beaufoy
directed and choreographed by Barry Ivan
musical direction by Dale Rieling

Georgie Bukatinsky … Susann Fletcher
Buddy “Keno” Walsh … Dan Puck
Susan Hershey … Jennifer Taylor
Estelle Genovese … Sarah Stiles
Reg Willoughby … Daniel Spiotta
Gary Bonasorte … Nick Wishnatzki
Marty … Leo Nouhan
Jerry Lukowski … Darren Ritchie
Dave Bukatinsky … Craig Bennett
Malcolm MacGregor … Bill English
Ethan Girard … Sebastian Arcelius
Nathan Lukowski … Christian Johansen
Joanie Lish … Colleen Longshaw
Pam Lukowski … Beth Beyer
Teddy Slaughter … Michael Scott Harris
Molly MacGregor … Charis Leos
Harold Nichols … George Dvorsky
Vicki Nichols … Deborah Tranelli
Jeanne Burmeister … Merle Louise
Noah “Horse” T. Simmons … Milton Craig Nealy
Police Sergeant … Nick Wishnatzki
Minister … Leo Nouhan
Tony Giordano … Rommy Sandhu

Orchestra:

Conductor; Keyboard … Dale Rieling
Saxophone; Clarinet; Flute … Robert Bowlby, Jr.
Saxophone; Clarinet; Flute … Ernest Sola III
Trumpet … Jay Daly
Trumpet … Richard Given
Trombone … Walter Bostian
Bass Guitar … David Buda
Drums … Kenneth Hadley
Percussion … Michael Ambroszewski
Keyboard … Brian Cimmet
Keyboard … John Conway
Electric Guitar … Scott Johnson

The 1997 British film THE FULL MONTY was a droll, warm-hearted comedy about six unemployed working-class men, none of them body-beautiful, cashing in on the Chippendale craze by staging their own strip show with the gimmick being their going the “full Monty” (i.e. stark naked) --- not only do they pull off their scheme along with their clothes, each man becomes beautiful according to his own physique. In adapting the film as a stage musical, librettist Terrence McNally has shifted the locale from Sheffield, England to Buffalo, New York, with the film’s low-key, mumbling quality being replaced with Broadway razzmatazz; otherwise, Mr. McNally’s libretto is faithful enough to the screenplay, adding and/or beefing up the female roles; it is also the show’s strength for David Yazbek’s score is undistinguished --- apart from the funky “Big Black Man” and the take-it-off finale, “Let It Go”, the songs are grafted onto an out-and-out comedy which claims (and deserves) all of the laughs for itself. (Mr. Yazbek is currently represented on Broadway with DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS --- another strong book-weak score combination.)

The North Shore Music Theatre production re-opens the theatre since its fire, several months ago; the arena stage is now more rectangular than circular and there are several hundred less seats, allowing performers to sprint up the aisles and off in record time. The production itself is workmanlike but on the night I attended the packed audience laughed and cheered often and in all the right places, especially whenever burly Craig Bennett capered about as Dave, the “fat bastard”; Milton Craig Nealy’s “Horse” gives the evening its only jolt of eroticism with his “Black Man” solo as Mr. Nealy is the only man in the cast who is comfortable with shaking his booty and Bill English as the closeted mama’s boy has a beautiful, soaring tenor, effortless in its lyricism.

And the “full Monty”? Yes, the men go starkers for a split second of revelation; those who love the movie know that it was not about the men’s penises but their souls and will be satisfied with all the hearty laughs that Mr. McNally has served up.

"The Full Monty" (1 - 20 November)
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY, MA
1 (978) 232-7200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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