Since I did The Scarlet Pimpernel last year with crapdaddy I've made a lot of friends who are actors, and therefore, spent a lot of time at the theater seeing productions that those friends are in. It's sort of the unwritten rule - you support your friends. Some of these productions have been a delight, others have been a chore to sit through. Back in the habit of theater-going, I've also seen professoinal productions - Wicked and Avenue Q, among others. I don't know that i've had more fun at the theater than I did Saturday night at Full Monty. And that includes my obvious reservation at seeing a friend nekkid. Which really, just isn't something you plan on for a date on Saturday night. Sure, at the gym or whatever, you see dudes walking around in the locker-room. It's all about context though.
Anyway, Full Monty has music that it's impossible not to tap your foot while listening to - and in fact, I could not resist. All of the performers have excellent voices - and while some of them are knock-it-out-of-the-park strong, and others softer, the small venue means even unamplified performers are easily audible. And the performances were by far more strong than not; in fact, the few moments of songs or lines delivered like an actor delivering a line, rather than a person speaking to another - were only notable because they were so infrequent. And there were some standout performances - the young lad who plays the son of the main character was incredibly talented, he was natural and at ease on stage in a way that professionals of many years' experience would be jealous of.
I could go on in detail about the various actors and actresses, all of them talented.I was particularly excited to see crapdaddy in a role where he's not a bad guy; and he fills his character's flannel shirts perfectly. He's got a ridiculously storng voice, and this role lets him shine. It's great to see a friend do well, particularly on the heels of his other recent triumphs. Some of the sentiments expressed by Jerry Lucowski, his character - must have been messin' with his head something fierce, but clearly he took that and ran with it.
The staging is also appropriate; the small theater really works in the favor of the staging. If I knew nothing about the production (though as it turns out I know both the star and the director) and you told me that they had chosen a small stage to suit the subject, I would have absolutely believed it. The play isn't a big epic; it's an intimate portrait of some down-and-out-guys in Buffalo, trying to make sense of their lives after the factory shuts down. Their family lives suffer, their self-esteem plummets - they're all trying to convince themselves and the women in their lives that they're not losers. So naturally they decide to take off their clothing and dance. Like ya do.
So the small interior fits the tight subject; each actor inhabits a big part of the stage, the audience sees their whole world all at once, like a disciplined camera shot in a Herzog film. The actors fill it up with raucous songs of bravado, tender songs of self-doubt, with outrageous and unexpected dance routines (Hey, it's the funky chicken!) and most of all, with a lot of fun. It's a play that will make you grin. It's music that will make you tap your toe. And most of all, the performances are whole-hearted and delightful. Clearly the actors are having a great time - you will too. Go! Fri and Sat at 8pm, Sundays at 6. Go!