THE FULL MONTY – Will They or Won’t They
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: A very enjoyable production of The Full Monty is at the Ivoryton Playhouse.
KAREN: This is a very big show for them. In case you don’t remember, it was first a British movie about a group of out-of-work guys, mostly blue collar guys who in an effort to make some money decide to put on a Chippendale’s like dance/strip show. The musical
BOB: written by Terrence McNally and the music and lyrics were done by David Yazbek.
KAREN: it was changed to Buffalo, New York. But the same story. A group of blue collar guys, out of work for a long time, their wives are supporting them, they are desperate for money – including the divorced guy who must come up with child support or lose custody of his son, the white collar guy married to the younger woman who likes the good like – they decide to put on this Chippendale type show in which they will do “the full monty.”
BOB: which means they will take EVERYTHING off. But do they or don’t they?
KAREN: The music is somewhat rock. We saw this on Broadway and liked it a lot. I do think, that by saying it is a present rather than maybe ten years ago, some of the references in the script and lyrics don’t seem to make as much sense – they seem dated, even though the economic issues are the same. We saw it the second night and the cast had only had two weeks of rehearsals.
BOB: A show like this really needs more rehearsal.
KAREN: This is a show that will get better, and better and better as the cast works together longer. We liked it.
BOB: Barrett Hall plays the lead role of Jerry, who plans the whole thing.
KAREN: Everyone in the cast was good. What was missing was some pace. Some of the scenes didn’t have the pizzazz they needed.
BOB: But I’m sure they will grow into that.
KAREN: Even the scene changes took a little bit too long – it too some of the momentum out of the show. There are some wonderful songs in it – the closing of the first act –“Michael Jordan’s Ball” is terrific. But this is a song that pointed up the problem with setting it now – people would more apt to refer to Kobe or LaBron rather than Michael Jordan. The idea is the guys are trying to learn how to dance and they are having great difficulty and they get the idea – since they all like to play pick-up basketball – to imagine as basketball moves.
BOB: There is an older woman, Jeannette, a crusty show-business veteran signs on as their pianist and has a terrific number that opens the second act.
KAREN: Who directed this?
BOB: Larry Nye
KAREN: He did a good job. This is a small stage and a small budget.
BOB: It’s a good effort. I’m certain show will improve. Go see The Full Monty at Ivoryton to July 26th.
This review appeared on WNHU 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net. WNHU is run by the University of New Haven.