~ by Rebecca Nimerfroh ~
The lights on the audience go down and a full moon comes up –er, should I say, a buttocks comes up? This is the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s The Full Monty, after all, and in the first five minutes of this hilarious gender-bender comedy you are reminded that you better check your modesty at the door, for this is going to be one wild ride.
Many fondly remember the 1997 movie of the same name, an international hit, but nineteen long years have softened the memory into a playful mound of happy expectation, of which the skillful actors on the stage prod and probe, molding hilarious scenes with seamless ease.
Enter Jerry Lukowski, played by the dark and handsome Mike Longo, a factory foreman who has lost his job over a year ago along with the rest of his co-workers, and struggles to make child support payments to his ex-wife and their advanced-beyond-his-years son Nathan. Desperation has clearly set in for this crew, including tubby friend Dave Bukatinsky (played skillfully well by Christy Kickham) who debates settling for a job as a mall security guard just to get some cash coming in. These broke, down-on-their-luck men can’t help but notice that the town’s female population has gone absolutely mad for the local women only strip joint where a popular male dancer named Buddy “Keno” Walsh (played hilariously by Xalvador Tin-Bradbury) rakes in dollar after dollar (hence the play’s opening strip-tease, hilarious yet benign, sure enough to get your blood pumping, mentioned in the first paragraph.) What results for Jerry is an idea – a real moneymaker. What if he and his friends could do the same strip tease? But this time, show it all?
The polarity between the rumors circulating a small town, asking “will they or won’t they?” and that of the play’s audience wondering the exact same thing can’t be ignored. These boys, accompanied by fellow unemployed and desperate locals, including Malcolm MacGregor (played by Joe Redman), Ethan Girard (played by Adam Poole), Harold Nichols (played by James Benjamin Rodgers), and Noah “Horse” T. Simmons (played by Nygel Deville Robinson) gyrate and grind in a way that only middle-aged factory workers could, only to ever be upstaged by the force that is the women of this production, the wives and girlfriends of the town; sexy, well-heeled, confident gals who won’t take no for an answer. Addie Doyle, Alexandra Kopko and Roxy York shine here, illuminating the stage with their very presence.
Without giving too much away, I promise you that this production of The Full Monty will give you your “money’s worth,” and unlike the coldness of the silver screen, seeing these actors up close and, er, personal, you feel like one of the members of the town, laughing and clapping along, not sure you want to see but you just can’t look away. That being said, the play never crosses that thin line into being too kinky. It’s a fun, wild ride, and easy to fall for these lovable, realistic strangers baring it all for a way to provide for their families and their future. An easy A!
The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s production of The Full Monty is at 6pm on August 6, 9, 11, 16, 18, 24, 27, and at 2pm on August 21. There is nudity during the performance. Box office is 508-228-4305 or theatreworkshop.com.