Phoenix Ensemble is set to present the smash hit musical The Full Monty in November, and audiences will need to come along to see if the cast really does go “all the way”.
The musical is an Americanised version of the 1997 British film, in which six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers decide to put on a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for touring Chippendales. Their point of difference? They'll go "the full monty" — strip all the way.
Director Tracey Hutley said she was drawn to the show because, while the show was fun and light-hearted, it was also about real people dealing with real issues.
“The big reveal at the end of the show, although important, is only a fleeting moment. The true story is about the lives and the journey these men take while facing some of the darkest moments of their lives, including unemployment, death, and issues around sexuality. We’ve been working hard in rehearsals to ensure the audience can connect with these characters and fall in love with them – quirks and all.
“Every member of the audience will be able to relate to one of the characters, as most people will have experienced similar journeys in their lives. We’ve worked really hard to show that the themes of the show are as real today as they were when the production was first developed.”
The show’s original music was another big plus for the director. “The music is really catchy with an upbeat brass band sound and some of the most beautiful ballads of any show I have ever directed.”
As they prepare for the strip show, the men work through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, and find strength in camaraderie. Tracey said a similar bonding experience happened for the cast through the rehearsal period.
“The guys have formed a certain bond that only fellas can when they are running around a stage half naked. We have a great bunch of people who are here to put on a terrific performance – and that’s what the audience will get.”
Full Monty features choreography by Heather Scott and musical direction by Casey Chadwick and Nick Ng. It promises to be a highlight in Phoenix Ensemble’s two-decade history.
“Phoenix is known for delivering cutting edge theatre and not necessarily producing the same sorts of shows as every other company,” Tracey says. “The Full Monty is testament to this. It takes real courage and trust from the cast to present this shows vulnerability and depth of character.”
And do the cast go the full monty? Come along and see.
7.30pm: 1,2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 November
Tickets: $26 adult; $24 concession