Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 24, 2008

“The Full Monty”

Majestic Theater, West Springfield
Through May 25
By Shera Cohen

Colloquial definitions of “the full monty” mean: the whole lot, entire pot, full amount, and the more commonly understood “full striptease routine.” The Majestic’s interpretation of the musical “The Full Monty” gives many meanings to the word “full.”

“Monty” tops off what has been a creative and exceptional season at the Majestic. From a two-character play, to Shakespeare, to a hysterically funny show on ice-fishing, to the large-cast and full-fledged musical of “Monty,” this company continues to prove that home-produced theatre is among the best. It’s costly and a risk, yet mounting plays from scratch instills a pride in cast and crew, not to mention audiences.

This musical, the story of down and out unemployed factory workers, is far from a “downer.” Yes, the characters are broke, with family problems, and depressed. Yet at the same time, they are full of hope, dreams, and the potential for self-esteem. Their means to the latter are unorthodox in the reluctant plan to become Chippendale-wannabes.

Randy Ronco (leader of the troupe) has energy, relates to his stage-son in poignant scenes, and represents a flawed man who doesn’t give up. Robert Clark (big-lug buddy Dave) portrays a pussycat with a heart. Darron Cardosa (mama’s boy) is the best of the singers. Also in this wonderful ensemble are Tom Knightlee, Van Farrier, and Dann Black. They are a perfect motley team, especially in their song and dance (creatively choreographed by David Wallace) piece “Michael Jordan’s Ball.”

While it’s the guys who “are” the play, Paula Cortis and Lea Oppedisano (wives) develop background of whom these men really are. Their juxtaposed scenes, in song and physical placement on the stage, in “You Rule My World” are highlights of the show.

Director Danny Eaton has a lot to do connecting the many segments to the next, as he works with Set Designer Amy Davis (creating a warehouse simply with moving panels) and Band Leader Mitch Chakour keeping up the pace.

“Monty” is a play with lyrics that move the story along, no hard-to-understand British accents (remember the movie version), and proof that there is no difference in talent between Equity and non-Equity actors.