Tuesday, April 30, 2013

REVIEW: The Full Monty (Manila)

Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium (Manila), Saturday April 27


The Full Monty, a musical based on the very successful 1997 British film of same title, opened on Broadway in 2000 to strong reviews. With the book written by Broadway veteran Terrence McNally, the location was moved from Sheffield to Buffalo, New York. The theme, however, remains pretty much the same with the emasculated jobless men dealing their angst and anxiety through the songs of David Yazbeck. I first saw this movie-turned-musical in New York back in 2001 and it was great fun, though my most vivid impression of the show was the ushers going around the theatre reprimanding people taking pictures and videos! The second time I saw it was when The Hong Kong Singers produced it in 2007 and it suffered a very imbalanced cast. The lead was weak, while some of the supporting cast members were so strong that one might have thought that they were imported from New York!

For this production by Viva-Atlantis Theatricals in Manila, it was entertaining enough, but I can’t help but feel that this must be the worst “Atlantis” production I have ever seen. There were no huge oversight, but there was that nagging sensation that there was something wrong…the singing was good but not fabulous…acting was either wooden or over-the-top…the accents were either off if not trite… the set was functional but cheap-looking…the sound was mono-directional…

Mark Bautista as the lead character Jerry was good but not great. His Jerry was a bit too young and sounded like a Sesame Street character. Arnell Ignacio’s Harold seems to be from the same neighborhood if not the same house... but less sincere. Marco Sison was an unbelievable “Big Black Man” Horse. Nino Alejandro was a miscast Ethan. If I can give out a Best Actor Award though for this production, it has to be to OJ Mariano. For somebody who didn’t look like a pigeon-chested shy loser, he managed to convince me that he was actually one. His “You Walk With Me” was for me the best performance of the evening. Jamie Wilson’s Dave was a pleasant surprise. In fact, I wouldn’t mind giving him a Best Actor Award too. He was believable and adorable. As for female members of the cast, only Ima Castro’s Vicki (wife of Arnell Ignacio’s Harold) and Jay Glorioso’s tough-talking seen-it-all Jeanette made any impression.

If you want an evening of light entertainment, go and see it... expect to be entertained but not to be blown away.

PS. In the above ad for the musical, I wonder why it says Terrence McNally (instead of david Yazbeck) is the composer of the musical.

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