Theater Review: "The Full Monty" At The Third Street Theatre
The musical follows two unemployed steel workers in Buffalo, NY. Jerry (Will Collyer) is "thirty-two going on ten," and the father of Nathan (Owen Teague), whose mother requires child support from Jerry following their divorce. Frustrated by a lack of job opportunities he deems acceptable, Jerry and his friend Dave (Ryan O'Connor) decide that they should become male strippers, but more "real" than the perfection embodied by the Chippendales, a sight that has entranced both of their wives. After enlisting help, the motley crew of men set off to learn how to strip for a lucrative one-night-only gig.
The cast certainly has some standouts, including Collyer, who brings some delicious vocal power to the character of Jerry, while Jan Sheldrick and Morgan Reynolds all but steal the show as a wisecracking accompanist and a neurotic night guard, respectively. Other cast members also have some really strong moments, such as Horse (Harrison White)'s audition and a touching moment between Dave and his wife (Erin Bennett) near the end of the show.
Unfortunately, the show has two main failings. Due to some timing mishaps, it comes off as underrehearsed (a sentiment made strikingly clear when the show accidentally lived up to its promise of providing "The Full Monty" on opening night), though that is an issue that will hopefully work itself out soon. Less remediable, though, are the problems with the musical itself. David Yazbeck's dull score does little to lift the show out of mostly forgettable territory. Also problematic are the graceless ways in which the show deals with sensitive issues like homophobia, obesity, and misogyny.
That being said though, the show redeems itself in its final number, "Let It Go." Director Richard Israel seems to have mostly stuck with the original production's staging but hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it? There is something so entertaining about watching men strip, even if "they may not be young, they may not be pretty, they may not even be very good," as one character puts it. But while their stripping may not yet be at the caliber of Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike," it's certainly amusing to watch.