Sunday, March 2, 2014

Wick Theatre: The Full Monty (4 reviews)

The Wick Theatre opened its production of The Full Monty on February 20, 2014.
Full Monty…a hilarious story about 6 unemployed steel workers from Buffalo, NY.  With no job prospects and families to support, these loveable misfits decide to form Hot Metal-- a dance troupe a la Chippendales. The Full Monty will have you cheering for more as these guys conquer their fears and try to take charge of their lives. This inspiring show is not just for ladies! This show contains mature themes and adult situations.
Dom Ruggiero directed a cast that included Alex Jorth, Regan McLellan, JP Sarro, Preston Ellis, Reggie Whitehead, Sabrina Lynn Gore, Casey Weems, Monti Cerabino, Lesley Ann Wolfe, Kara Staiger, and Barry Tarallo.  Choreography by Andy Fiacco, musical direction by Michael Ursua.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
The Wick Theatre’s production of the musical is competent, perhaps one of the better renditions you’ve seen of it, but its uninspiring score and so-so script keep the production from equaling The Wick’s recent triumph with 42nd Street.
It’s all good, clean off-color fun under the direction of Dom Ruggiero, choreography by Andy Fiacco and musical direction by Michael Ursua. As with its other productions in its maiden season, The Wick hasn’t scrimped much on talent and production values other than the canned music.
Ruggiero has a decent feel for the material... But generally, it takes the show about a half-hour to get up and running.
The cast does a reasonably decent job with this material. Sarro has the best comic timing; Weems is hilarious in her number anticipating an expensive trip that her husband has promised. Whitehead was the Leading Player in Pippin two weeks ago minus the shoe polish in Horse’s beard; he excels impersonating someone whose aging body is limiting his desire to let himself go with dislocating hip thrusts.
Only Whitehead and Jorth are outstanding dancers in real life, but Fiacco ensures that none of the six ever become some slick synchronized Broadway chorus line, which fits perfectly.
In her one number, Weems is a standout… a Carol Burnett number sung full out with a trumpet of a voice and limbs flying everywhere with more energy than a lot of the other numbers put together.
While it will never be confused with La Cage aux Folles or Man of La Mancha, this edition of The Full Monty isn’t half bad.
Rod Stafford Hagwood was there for The Stunned Senseless:
“The Full Monty” - twerking through March 23 at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton - is a zipperful of fun.
You may even say it’s a booty-ful musical.
There, I think I got that out of my system. It’s hard (oops, sorry) not to pound the pun with a comely comedy this bent on being bawdy. For cryin’ out loud, the show opens with a Chippendales-esque strip act. Parental discretion is advised.

Not wit, but a lifeless simulation.
Director Dom Ruggiero keeps the show moving with slick pacing as long as he can.
The production is lavishly staged, from the sets of color-blocked sliding panels to the step-step-thrust and basketball-injected choreography. The show is even particularly well lit.
And yet acting-wise, there are moments that come off a bit perfunctory, giving performances a slightly undersold and undercooked air. So much so that the been-there-done-that piano player Jeanette Burmeister (Leslie Anne Wolfe) almost walks off with the whole show in what is the funniest bit: the auditions for strippers.
JW Arnold reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Thanks to stage direction from Dom Ruggiero, Ellis and his co-stars are immediately likeable, the ultimate key to selling this show. The audience is pulling for them from the start as the seemingly simple plot gets more and more convoluted.
Yazbek’s score is not easy, but the gentlemen shine under the musical direction of Michael Ursua, despite the challenges of singing to a recorded accompaniment track peppered with tricky pauses and syncopated entrances. The ladies in the cast, particularly Kara Staiger and Casey Weems as Dave and Harold’s respective wives, had more difficulty finding and matching pitches in their numbers than the men.
As can be expected from a theater company with an in-house costume museum, the costume design from Linda C. Shorrock hits the late ‘80s/early ‘90s blue collar aesthetic perfectly, especially in the women’s outfits. And, extremely flexible scenery from Gateway Playhouse, largely constructed from welded steel, corrugated metal and mesh panels, perfectly evokes the battered landscape of Rust Belt-era Buffalo.
Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
In 1968, Broadway was aghast (and titillated) when a tribe of hippies went naked in Hair. Thirty-two years later, a handful of unemployed steel workers strip down to nothing onstage in The Full Monty and it is practically family entertainment.
OK, I guess it depends on the family, but if you have a taste for untoned, scrawny, fat or aging bodies, then The Wick Theatre has the show for you.
The show needs to move with a cinematic pace and it does, thanks to director Dom Ruggiero of New York’s Gateway Playhouse, the same place the serviceable metalwork set comes from. At least as important is the choreography, handled by Andy Fiacco, who manages to make the sad sack six look clumsy early on, then brings them up to speed with comic bumps and grinds in the finale.
Together the former steel workers form a tight-knit ensemble; five of the six are Actors Equity members. Reggie Whitehead has done the show numerous times, a standout as the black man with an anatomical secret. JP Sarro is the token butterball, who gets to sing a number to his overhanging stomach. Alex Jorth and Regan McLelland are lost souls who discover they have more in common than a mutual love of show tunes. And Leslie Anne Wolfe gets most of the good lines as the group’s seasoned rehearsal piano player, punching them — and the audience — into submission.
 The Wick Theatre presents The Full Monty through March 23, 2014.

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