Thursday, June 30, 2011


Cabrillo Stage's fun, raucous 'Full Monty' delivers the goods

As a property, The Full Monty is not for the fainthearted. A live stage musical based on the 1997 film about laid-off factory workers who produce a full frontal male strip act to raise some cash and reclaim their manhood, it's peppered with profanity, features various degrees of nudity, and demands plenty of singing, dancing and chutzpah from its actors. Any company that dares to put this show on the boards had better have the goods to back it up.

Fortunately, Cabrillo Stage makes all the right moves in its ambitious and entertaining production of The Full Monty, the first of three shows in its 30th Anniversary summer season. An ingratiating cast, er, rises to the occasion in every respect, under the bold and thoughtful direction of Dustin Leonard. Andrew Ceglio's choreography maintains a level of breezy audacity in the bump-and-grind numbers, but also creates specific movement for each character that helps define their personalities over the course of the show.

With a smart book by veteran playwright Terrence McNally and buoyant pop songs by David Yazbek, the stage production relocates the film story from the depressed north of England to depressed Buffalo, NY, where laid-off workers are scrambling to pay their bills and cling to their self-esteem after months of unemployment. Chief among these is Jerry Lukowski, played with caustic humor and heart by the dynamic Kyle Payne. (Read more)

Recommended for mature audiences, due to language and live flesh, The Full Monty is an outrageously funny show, one of the most successful productions in Cabrillo Stage history. It's also a terific rebound from the company's disappointing holiday offering of the, erm, limp Leslie Bricusse musical, Scrooge, based on A Christmas Carol. They're all troupers over at Cabrillo Stage; this show proves that with the right material, they can, well, knock your socks off.

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