The Full Monty
West Cliff Theatre, Clacton
Saturday 30th June 2012
Having taken all of the plot and spirit of the original Sheffield-based British film, and re-set it in Buffalo, New York, The Full Monty is a fun, feel-good show about a group of unemployed men who gather with the idea to imitate the Chippendales for a quick buck.
CMTS have brought in talents from all over the county for this show, and the performance standards were high. The vocals I caught were generally very good, complemented by some worthy acting, especially from the leads.
Jerry Lukowski was played with a laid-back charm by Peter Spilling, who sang the very demanding range of numbers with style. Distracted at times by the over-enthusiastic Saturday night audience, he gave a convincing portrayal in a challenging role. Dave Bukatinsky, delightfully characterised by Simon Brett, not only suited the role physically, but sang the tricky harmonies with ease. He brought the most energy to his choreography, and dealt delicately with the emotional depth in Dave's back story, in the performance of the night. Neil Murphie made a lovable Harold, Alex Lockert an endearing Malcolm, and Charlie Vaughn an energetic Ethan. A fabulous performance in a gift of a part from Marley Njie, despite being at least 50 years too young to play Horse. Helped by some grey chest hair and long underwear he gave one of the most entertaining performances of the night, sustaining his characterisation throughout. Absolute respect must go to all these men, who seemed to relish in the excitable anticipation from the warm audience, and gave confident performances of their excellent final routine, choreographed by Ashleigh Masters.
They were backed up by some good supporting performances too. Jerry's ex Pam (Emily Aldis), was feisty and defiant without ever becoming cold. Dave's loving wife Georgie (Katie Leech), loyal and tender but also full of spirit, with fantastic 80s hair which almost masked her during some moments and could have done with being pinned back. Harold's frivolous wife Vicki (Sharon Giles), did a wonderful job with her zestful number. Chain-smoking Jeanette (Tracey Williams) who had been around the block and back, was dryly hilarious delivering some great one-liners.
Such a shame to bring an evening where CMTS seemed to be striving for as professional a standard from their company as possible, to bring it crashing back to distinctively amateur status again after the curtain. It is a pet hate of mine when amateur groups choose to give any kind of speech in front of their paying audiences. Applause is implicitly meant to extend to all involved in a show, so there is no need to list everyone by name or, even worse, haul them up on stage. Save it for your party. Then we stepped back 100 years and sang the National Anthem? Bizarre.
However, until the curtain I enjoyed CMTS's take on The Full Monty. A bravely unusual show for this Society, and long may they remain as courageous if it will produce musical theatre of such entertaining value.