When Terrence McNally’s movie ‘The Full Monty” was screened, it struck a chord with audiences and became a blockbuster hit. The addition of almost memorable music and clever lyrics by David Yazbek, plus a relocation of site from Sheffield to Buffalo and City Centre Musical Productions have a totally professional presentation displayed on the Meadowvale Theatre stage. CCMP delivers impeccable directing; totally proficient crew & technical contribution worthy of ‘downtown’. As for the on-stage performers, there is not a single weak link.
The story of some recently fired workers; their financial difficulties; emotional confrontations, and especially familial letdowns will no doubt touch everyone seeing the play. We’ve all been there! Director Maria Moore seems to emphasize the three episodic segments of the latter predicament and her trio of partnerships scans the spectrum of marital relationships. Russ Underdown & Megan Flynn (Jerry and Pam) have separated and are in disagreement over permanent custody of son Nathan. Brad Dicks & Erin Hyde are ‘Dave’ and ‘Georgie’ whose attitudes and styles are diverging. The men’s ex-manager -‘Harold’ is determined to maintain a financial façade for wife ‘Vicki’. Nick Sabetti & Gillian Rodrigue are the most identifiable pair…’done that’ myself.
The Underdown/Flynn family evokes the most empathy and all four (+son & new BF/suitor) protagonists contribute powerful depictions of the almost stereotypical response to a financial life-changing catastrophe. Pre-teen Dylan Nelson is the pivotal son both parents love and want. Being something of a Daddy’s boy, Nelson leans toward Underdown’s character and to describe his almost avuncular support would be a ‘spoiler’. Enough said, but with this addendum; we’d have savored having the ‘Lukowski’ family as neighbors.
The Sabetti Rodrigue pairing is so well drawn and portrayed that this writer kind of wished to see more scrutiny and depth into their convoluted relationship. Both actors punch well above their weight class. The Georgie and Dave union is the most individually dissected couple and their portrayers ring true and realistic.
There are also some outstanding support characters. ‘Horse’ is Troy DeFour who convincingly plays someone twice his age. Defour has a solo that is totally politically Incorrect yet has the audience giggling over every unsubtle lyric phrase. We glean that certain stereotypes are false! Sharon Nimmo is the accompanist cum mother-hen to the six men who plan on a one-night bare-it-all strip-show to get back on their collective financial footing. Shan’t tell more, but suffice to say there’s coarse language; mature subject matter and nudity. Audience responses are appreciative and certainly encouraging.
The costuming is creative and explanatory; the set design is more than just functional it’s imaginative and ingenious. The lighting and sound are faultless. Full Monty’s songs, with a couple of exceptions, are rather pedestrian but the musical backgrounds and inter-acte distractions are more than adequately performed by Michael Grieco’s ten-piece offstage orchestra.
W.C. Fields famously warned about ‘never act with kids or animals’. Seeing the focal point every time Dylan was on stage…this scribe can readily believe the accuracy behind his proclamation.
“The FULL MONTY” can be seen until March 29th at Meadowvale. 905-615-4720