The play is very similar to the 1997 movie, though it’s set in the US instead of the UK. Several unemployed husbands, frustrated at their inability to find a job and annoyed that their wives (who ARE working) are out paying $50 each to go see a Chippendales show, decide they can make some quick cash by doing their own performance.
The biggest difference is that the play is a musical, with songs and some dancing scattered throughout the performance. That’s perhaps the one arguable flaw in this production… All of the singers give admirable vocal performances — some more consistently than others, and ALL better than I could ever manage — but you probably wouldn’t rush out to buy a soundtrack recorded at this performance. Definitely don’t go there expecting Broadway-quality singing.
You SHOULD go there expecting to be entertained by several funny and heartwarming scenes. It’s a very enjoyable show, and well worth your time and money. From the strip show at the beginning, through delightful explorations of characters and relationships, to the final (and fully nude) moment with the six male leads, you’ll be glad you went.
I was really touched by Stuart Spencer’s “Dave”, and Chris Thompson’s “Horse” had me grinning each time he shuffled onto the stage. And I was SO impressed by young Andrew Griner, Jr. as the lead character’s son “Nathan.” That kid’s definitely got a future in the arts, and is rightfully nicknamed “401k” by his father. (True story.)
And of course, Salvador Garcia was magnificent as “Keno,” the male stripper who kicks off the show and inspires the husbands’ scheme. Naturally I’m biased, but that doesn’t change the fact that his all-too-brief dance at the beginning is stunning, and his occasional cameos throughout were always a pleasure. As I’ve said after seeing him in Living Out and in Dangerous, I am so insanely proud of that man.
Lest we think a show called The Full Monty is focused purely on the boys, I have to pause for a moment and gush about some of the ladies in the cast. Courtney Johnson was adorable as “Vicki,” a pampered wife who is blissfully unaware of her husband’s long-standing unemployment. Candace Neal was delightful as “Georgie”, a wife struggling to understand her husband’s growing detachment. Pat Heiss was shocking (in a good way) as “Jeanette.” You have to see her to believe it.
The Full Monty runs through Sunday, May 17th at Theatre Charlotte. Tickets are available online — I’ll be attending for “Bank of America Night” on Friday the 8th, and the finale on Sunday the 17th. Come out and join me!