Cape Rep’s ‘Full Monty’ Bares It All

By: Amy Tagliaferri

Topics: Local Theater

Richard E Waits and company in “The Full Monty” at Cape Rep Theatre. BOB TUCKER/FOCALPOINT STUDIO PHOTO

How far would you go to see your kid? Jerry Lukowski, who’s behind in his child support, would go all the way.

Six unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo, N.Y. are low on cash and the future looks bleak. So when two of them, Jerry and Dave, spy their wives (or ex-wife in Jerry’s case) at a male strip club and see their enthusiastic response to the dancers, an idea is formed. Why don’t do we do a one-night-only strip tease? And to make their show even better than the Chippendale dancers, they’ll go “The Full Monty,” and strip all the way! As they secretly rehearse for the big night, the six tackle their fears, self-esteem issues and anxieties, and form a connection. The musical, “The Full Monty” (Book by Terence McNally, music and lyrics by David Yazbek) is based on the hugely successful British film of the same name.

This is Cape Rep’s second time around with this show (they staged it in 2006) and it’s as delightful as ever. The acting is natural and unaffected, the singing strong, the dancing well-executed and the set inventive. Jerry’s frustration tempered with his love for his son Nathan is portrayed touchingly by Sam Nudler. The chemistry between Jerry and his ex-wife Pam (Kelly Plescia) is moving also. Plescia shows us the angst of a broken marriage where there could still be feelings. Cam Torres as Dave pulls at your heartstrings as he sings to his sleeping wife Georgie, “You Rule My World.” Ashlyn Inman as Georgie honestly portrays her love for her overweight husband. Soon Noah Pelty as the conflicted Malcolm, Ian Shain as the well-endowed Ethan, Anthony Teixeira as Harold, the uptight ex-supervisor, and Richard E. Waits as “Horse,” a surprisingly-talented dancer, all become part of the dance troupe with Jerry and Dave. The audition process is fun to watch because of the hilarious Melissa Becker in the scene-stealing role of Jeanette. Becker and Waits have a couple of nice poignant moments that add to the humanity of this show. More highlights are Waits’ “Big Black Man,” Becker’s “Jeanette’s Showbiz Number” and Malcolm and Ethan’s “You Walk With Me.”

Jess Andra as Harold’s wife Vicki knocked it out of the park with “Life With Harold.” The strong ensemble included Meghan Magrath, Sara Plunkett and Isabelle Archer. Dylan Moreno was charming as Nathan too (he shares the role with Julien Lajoie). But it’s Ryan Sheehan who you will be talking about after you see this show. Sheehan is at least five or more characters in the production. And for each he has to not only don a different demeanor but a costume as well, sometimes with only seconds to spare. Never did he seem out of breath or disheveled. An amazing performance!

Director Dani Davis, who is responsible for the great choreography too, keeps the production flowing beautifully from one dramatic sequence to another. The detailed set design (Richard Ouellette) utilizes simple pieces and portrays the set changes through Herrick Goldman’s lighting. Robin McLaughlin’s costumes were inventive, and may we add successful (wink, wink). Pressure is on stage manager Valerie Stanford to hit the button at the right time, every performance. The excellent band (musical director Peter Hodgson, keyboard 1, guitar; Tim Maxwell, drums; Ben Colgan, keyboard 2, and Meyer Brown, bass) was hidden so the actors could shine. And shine they did! “Let it Go” was the perfect payoff! This is a great two-plus hours of fun (the language can be a bit rough, so leave little ones at home), and it’s sure to sell out.

DETAILS:
"The Full Monty"
At Cape Rep Theatre, Route 6A, Brewster
Through Sept. 1, Tuesday to Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-896-1888, www.caperep.org