Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the any page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.
THE FULL MONTY presented by Human Race Theatre Company through Oct. 4. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
A strong, six-men ensemble leads this fun and entertaining production, solidly directed by Joe Deer.
Christopher deProphetis nicely handles the role of Jerry Lukowski, the proud and quick-to-anger single father. He is the one who comes up with the crazy get-rich-quick scheme to strip. The scenes with his son Nathan (played by Peanut Edmonson) go a long way in softening the character. “Breeze Off the River” was nicely done and a favorite ballad of the show.
Matt Welsh is excellent as Jerry’s best friend and partner in crime, Dave Bukatinsky. Welsh gives the everyman character a vulnerability that the audience responds to. Both scenes with wife Georgie (Leslie Goddard) were touching and I found myself rooting for them as a couple.
Jamie Cordes gives high strung, former-manager Harold Nichols alot of heart. Like Dave, Harold’s biggest vulnerability is failing his wife. When his struggle to keep up appearances finally fails, the scene that follows with wife Vicki (played by Sonia Perez) works well.
Richard E. Waits is fun as Noah “Horse” T. Simmons, the oldest member of the dance crew, comically struggling to live up his nickname and dance with his trick hip.
Matt Kopec is very sweet as naive and gawky Malcolm MacGregor. The relationship between Kopec’s Malcolm and Ethan was handled well.
Josh Kenney is over-the-top fun as Ethan Girard. Kenney has so much energy, that at times he was performing a bit too much over the rest of the ensemble, stealing focus.
Deb Colvin-Tener was fun as Jeanette Burmeister, the feisty piano accompanist. She did come off a little one-note for me. The character voice used seemed to limit her vocal variety.
I also enjoyed how the character of Jerry’s ex-wife was handled. As played by Jillian Jarret, she keeps Pam from becoming bitter or nagging. It easy to believe the Pam and Jerry once had feelings for each other, and that Pam’s main goal is keeping their son happy.
The ladies of the ensemble, Tracey L. Bonner, Handy, Leslie Goddard and Andréa Morales, strut their stuff early in the first act with the women-power number, “It’s a Woman’s World.”
The band sounded great under the direction of Sean Michael Flowers.
The choreography by Dionysia Williams fit the show and was well-managed by the cast, but it didn’t hold any surprises. There were a few times, particularly with Keno’s (Richard Jarrett) strip tease, where the choreography felt confined to the counts of the music. The spontaneity of the numbers was missing.
The set design by Dick Block worked well and I enjoyed the versatility of it, with the rotating platform and the storybook walls. The only scene that didn’t work for me was the Nichols’ home. The set pieces used didn’t read as affluent.
Early in the show, when Jerry & Dave are stuck hiding in the bathroom stall, it might have been fun to see their feet react to the less than complimentary things being said about them. I was surprised to hear “You Walk with Me” sung so powerfully at the graveside. Don’t get tme wrong, the number was handled well by Kopec and Kenney, I was just surprised by the belting.
Overall a solid, heartfelt musical featuring a entertaining and charismatic cast.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5.
I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.