July 20th, 2024

MHMT Show Review: The Full Monty filled with strong bare-it-all performances

By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on October 20, 2023.

Three unemployed men walk into a ballroom dance lesson in hopes of finding a dance teacher during Act 1 of The Full Monty, which opens tonight at the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre.--NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON


Medicine Hat Musical Theatre’s production of The Full Monty had the audience cheering and on their feet applauding by the close of the show. At intermission, the energy in the theatre was high, with audience members commenting on how much fun they were having and the great entertainment value of the production. That energy continued to increase throughout the second act as six male cast members built up for the big reveal in the final scene.

Media night is held as the final dress rehearsal. This year was the first time MHMT opened it up to friends and supporters of the theatre. An almost full house brought out the best in each of the cast members. As one attendee commented, it only gets better as each actor perfects their lines and timing with each show.

“Media Night for The Full Monty was an overwhelming success. We had a very large crowd who responded positively to the performance from the moment the curtain opened,” stated producer Rae Wahl. “The countless hours of volunteerism that go into each production are amply rewarded when a live audience enjoys the performance. It’s why we do what we do.”

The show follows a group of men who have been unemployed for months while they navigate how to cope with the drain it causes to their self esteem. Marriages are crumbling or in crisis, lies are being told to maintain façades and suicidal thoughts haunt several of them. In a bid to make some quick cash, they contrive a scheme to give a one-night only Chippendale’s style show by real men rather than a fantasy version of one.

Lead Gord Hawker, making his debut appearance on the MHMT stage, was able to convey his character’s insecurities and self doubt in one scene while quickly switching to bragging machoism in the next. Although saying he is more a singer than actor, Hawker cleverly managed to turn the one complicated line he fumbled into a comic moment.

There are many laugh-out-loud moments in the show and many of the musical numbers add to the hilarity. While the story is centred around the male characters, all female actors are no slouches with both Amber Stark and Carolyn Freeman giving standout performances. Kudos should be given to all actors, male or female, who bared skin during the show. No matter your age or body type, it is a brave thing to do.

The audition scene stands out in Act 1 where John Beavan and Kerry Johnson both display killer dance moves, albeit of very different natures.

Act 2 fluctuates between the comedy of rehearsals to moments where the characters of Hawker, Dave Cannon and Bruce Sandford must deal with the harsh realities of their lives.

It all crescendos in the final scene, where each character transforms into a man determined to not only entertain but to make good on their promise. Hawker’s character Jerry Lukowski tells the guys they’ll only live once, before they line up for the final dance number and bare all.

The Full Monty runs from Oct. 20 to Nov. 4 with a start time of 8 p.m. for all shows. Run time is close to three hours including intermission. For more information or to buy tickets go to mhmtheatre.com.

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