Patrick Street Productions

The Full Monty by David Yazbek & Terrence McNally

Dates and Venue 14 March – 5 April 2009, Tues - Sat at 8pm; matinees Sat & Sun @ 2pm (Sunday 18th @7pm) | Norman Rothstein Theatre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Wow! What a great show! From the very start of the show with the eye-catching set, all the way upto the end of the performance, where half the house stood in ovation during curtain call, the musical's opening night audience was thrilled throughout the entire performance with the energy and entertainment provided by these fantastic Canadian actors. Indeed, Broadway has finally made it to Vancouver.

Based on the widely popular film, this musical adaptation shifts the story from Sheffield, England to Buffalo, New York. It touches on issues that concern us today: unemployment, single-parent child rearing, self-image, self-worth, and the changing nature of traditional gender roles.

This musical is the company's second production, and I can tell that this group is on its way. Talented actors like the charismatic Leon Willey, captivating Stephen Aberle, laughable Greg Armstrong, the very young and up-and-coming Joshua Ballard, and the audience's favourites, Bonnie Panych and Denis Simpson, who got a lot of cheers and laughs for their amusing routines, as well as the rest of the cast and crew-- all worked well as a team to make this opening night performance a success.

The women who played supporting roles were fabulous. Joanna Kovats, Anna Kuman and Caitriona Murphy backed up their "hero underdogs", and their dance and song routines were just simply fabulous. The band under the baton of Kerry O'Donovan was excellent, athough at times, it would drown the songs of the actors, and I think it needs to tone down a bit.

The same set was used for various locales, and understandably so, as this is not a full-blown Broadway production with tons of money for elaborate and ever-changing sets. But nevertheless, the audience was aware as to where the different scenes were taking place.

Kudos to the young and vibrant director, Peter Jorgensen, for his vision of bringing contemporary musicals to Vancouver. I reviewed the company's inaugural production last year, Sondheim's Into the Woods, which earned multiple Jesse nominations, and I look forward to seeing more productions from this company, as musicals are remedies that drive away the blues, especially during the cold, rainy winters of Vancouver.

2009 Ed Farolan