AISLE SAY…”HE SAID”: Triumphant FULL MONTY at New Candlelight

by Greer Firestone

In the Americanized stage version adapted from the British film of the same name, 6 unemployed Buffalo steel workers, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives’ enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. One of them, Jerry, declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they’ll go THE FULL MONTY – strip all the way.  

Patrick O'Hara as Harold, Chris Baron as Ethan, David Snyder as Dave and Andre Dion Wills as Horse in New Candlelight Theatre's THE FULL MONTY.

As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie.

From last month’s fully clothed CATS to half naked men, NCT continues to stretch both boundaries and – in MONTY – waistlines.

Performing this show in your hometown takes prodigious chutzpah. Some of the actors might benefit from a Y membership. To quote Cary Grant in the classic Rudyard Kipling movie, “You’re a braver man than me, Gunga Din”

David Yazbek created both music and lyrics. The latter especially was clever by two, reminiscent of the wit and playfulness of the wittiest and most playful composer ever, Cole Porter. (The Brandywiners are staging his most famous KISS ME KATE this summer.)

Double entendres are dispatched as speedily as shirts are stripped. The strong ensemble is led by NCT veteran Paul Goodman as Jerry. His singing voice evokes the pathos and despair that comes from a husband’s and father’s inability to provide for his family. I do wish that Director Chris Alberts and he would discuss the poignant scene in which Jerry’s young son gives his Dad the money to rent the hall. It was all over too quick in relation to the heartstrings that could have been pulled and the eyes that could have moistened.

Doffing one’s clothes does bond a cast. This carries over to the mellifluous harmonies as well in “The Mill”. Peter Briccotto (Malcolm), Andre Dion Willis (Horse…please, please don’t ask me why) and Patrick O’Hara (Harold), Method actors all, created defined characterizations of those who would risk all to do what they felt was the right thing.

THE FULL MONTY lasted on Broadway for 770 shows not only because it was a truly outrageous idea, but also because it spoke directly to our insecurities.  NCT translates that for us in a triumphant manner.

And, ladies, not to fret. Even dear sister Liz, her program at the ready to shield her cute baby blues, never had to look away!

Book by Terrence McNally
Music & Lyrics by David Yazbeck
April 8 – May 22, 2011
New Candlelight Theatre
2208 Millers Rd.
Ardentown, DE 19810

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