The Argus Review: The Full Monty

Viewer discretion advised.

By: Ryley Fingler, Copy Editor

What do you get when you combine steelworkers, pelvic thrusts, and a room overflowing with middle-aged women? Well, apparently something like Cambrian Players’ production of Terrence McNally and David Yazbek’s The Full Monty.

Photo courtesy Cambrian Players

Directed by Candi Badanai, the latest Cambrian production follows a group of unemployed steelworkers, led by Jerry Lukowski (Neil Paterson), who decide to take up exotic dancing à la the ever-so-popular Chippendales in an effort to earn some money and get out of their collective rut. The boys are disheartened by their financial and personal situations, and decide that stripping is just the pick-me-up they need. Inspired by the women of the town’s willingness to pay their hard-earned money to watch men take off their clothes, the group vows to take the act one step further by going the full monty – stripping all the way.

The show began on March 1 and has hosted a full house every night – I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say the situation on Saturday night was on the low end of what I imagine a One Direction concert to be. The small theatre was crammed completely full, with people lined up outside an hour before the curtain. If that doesn’t tell you that you’re going to want to see this one, I don’t know what will.

The Full Monty isn’t just a raunchy romp dripping with raw sexuality (although there is a lot of that to go around). It’s got a heart that seems to appear just at the right moments, and manages to be heart-warming and hysterically funny all at once. Much of Jerry’s drive to create the aptly named group, Hot Metal, is rooted in his love for his son and his strained financial relationship with his ex-wife. Dave, the overweight and insecure husband to Chippendale enthusiast Georgie, faces crippling doubt about his body and learns to be comfortable in his skin. The play also features the very beginning of a gay romance between Malcolm and Ethan, performed by the Lakehead English department’s very own Daniel Hannah.

Highlights of the show include the darkly hilarious “Big-Ass Rock”, in which the character of Malcolm (Spencer Hari), Jerry, and Dave (Lawrence Badanai) contemplate methods of suicide, as well as the highly anticipated closing number, “Let It Go” – but I’m not going to spill the beans on that one.

What I will tell you is this: The Full Monty is sure to be a hit in the next week, and for good reason. It’s bursting with laughs and catchy tunes, and packs an emotional punch to boot. And, let’s be honest – it’s not terrible to look at.

You can catch some Hot Metal of your own from March 8-11 at the Finlandia. Curtains open at 8 p.m.

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