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20
Sun, Jan

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Reviewed by Terry Boyle

Theo Uibque has launched its new season at their new digs on Howard with a cracker of a show.  For those of us who loved the movie, the musical adaptation of The Full Monty follows the same plot only moving action from Sheffield, UK to Buffalo, New York.   For fans of Theo Ubique, the new place represents a huge step up, and this production of a hugely successful story is a fitting debut to commemorate such a leap of faith.  Now, this talented theatre group has found a bigger space in which to court a larger audience, and, if this show is anything to go by, they will continue to grow.   

The Full Monty throws us into the desperation of a group of unemployed steel workers seeking to make ends meet.  The hardship of being out of work has taken its toll on the men.  Their friendships, relationships and family life are seriously challenged by this new reality.   There is just enough tragic comedy to each man’s story to endear us.  We are moved by the hardships they endure, while sharing in the simple joys they muster up to offset the pervasive gloom of despair.

Despite the poverty of hope produced by unemployment, this work allows us to celebrate the ingenuity of human enterprise.  The cast, all of them deserving of praise, breathe life into the lyrics of David Yazbek.  Jerry, played by Matt Frye, grounds the show in the struggles of a man fighting against the humiliation that accompanies unemployment. He is joined by his friend Dave, Nick Druzbanski, who provides us with a robust performance.  There is fire in the blood of these songs.  They bring us closer to hearts and minds of a society struggling for survival.  The overall feeling of optimism is loudly proclaimed in the final scene.  While unemployment strips away a man’s dignity, his nakedness is transformed from humiliation to celebration.  

Theo Ubique have found a work fitting for a season of goodwill and cheer.

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