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Review: “The Full Monty” at Georgetown Palace Theatre

Staff Writer
Austin 360

There’s something particularly charming (and surprising) about a community theater producing a musical that tells the story of a few average guys who get together to learn how to put on a show… by taking off all their clothes.

Georgetown Palace Theater’s rendition of “The Full Monty,” playing now through Sept. 21, is brave, delightful, and hilarious, even if the production quality is a bit rough around the edges.

A musical adaptation of the 1998 film, “The Full Monty” follows Jerry (David Sray) and his buddy Dave (Erik Freisinger), two unemployed factory workers, whose get rich quick scheme is to become male strippers on their home turf. Their routine is certainly exotic for the ladies of Buffalo, and Jerry figures they can make a fortune by strutting their stuff as “regular joe’s” rather than the imported Chippendales that breeze through town.

All the same, when the Chippendale dancer (Robert Harriss) opens the show with an un-self-consciously sensual striptease, he gets more than just the show’s ladies catcalling from the seats.

Although inexperienced in dancing or taking their clothes off in public, Jerry and his friends assemble a troupe of similarly hapless fellows, and the antics along the way are unavoidably amusing.

Rather than including covers from the film, the show’s music is original, but the singing isn’t the strong point of the show. What the cast does well is the physical humor, especially Clint Cox in his striptease audition, and Bobby DiPasquale in his exuberant efforts to walk up the walls.

As the suicidal simpleton, Malcolm, however, Tim O’Neal proves his comedic chops as well as vocal talents, and it’s just a shame he doesn’t get more chances to sing. James Frazier and Linda Myers are charming as the high-class couple who don’t know how to talk to each other, and you can’t help but fall in love with B.J. Ortwein as the retired showgirl with a talent for sarcasm and a hankering for pizazz.

It’s a silly script, filled with not-so-subtle bathroom humor, and it’s hard to imagine what the unedited version includes that the edited version doesn’t, since the latter retains plenty of bad words and essentially as close to the “full monty” as we get in the film.

As one elderly theatergoer remarked on her way out Friday night, “Oh my! We haven’t had a show like that in years!”

Perhaps she’ll be delighted again next month, when Georgetown will continue their theme of bawdy musicals by opening their 2014-2015 season with “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

“The Full Monty” continues through Sept. 21 at the Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave. $10-$26.http://www.georgetownpalace.com