On Saturday, August 4, I attended that evening’s performance of The Full Monty by the City Lights Theatre Company of San Jose.
This is not a review of the musical itself, just a quick impression of the performances and venue. If you want to know about the show, read the Wikipedia entry.
City Lights is headquartered in a building that seems better suited as an auto-repair garage than a live theatre. But somehow these creative folk have crafted a decent venue. The sound system was designed to overcome any architectural flaws. The pitch of the stadium-style seating ensures a clear view of the stage no matter the height of the person in front of you (their heads came up to your knees).
There were two stand-out performers the night I attended: Adam Campbell as Dave Bukatinsky and Katie Anderson as his wife, Georgi Bukatinsky. Their side story, mostly due to the talent of the performers overwhelmed the main story line.
That was too bad. Although Kit Wilder was adequate as Jerry Lukowski despite the vocals being slightly out of his range, it is really too bad that he had to share the stage as the lead with a talent the size of Campbell’s. It really wasn’t fair.
Wilder did have one stinko number, though, Breeze of the Water, where the character sings to his sleeping child. It fell flat on the audience; probably because the Jerry-Nathan-Pam storyline was so overshadowed by the Dave-Georgie pairing that we didn’t care.
But the worst number of the night would have to be You Walk With Me, as performed by Dann Howard and Charles McKeithan. Now you can tell that both are able and talented vocalists. But the affectation of singing through tears by Howard at the beginning of the scene was distracting to the point of being annoying.
Additionally the lack of any chemistry between the two actors (who are both attractive individually) didn’t help matters much. During this scene – the production, which had been chugging along quite nicely, came to a dead stop.
The audience was bored. I wonder if the director tried but failed to pick up the pace of the scene or – yes – considered cutting the number.
But thankfully there were many good and great performances given that more than made up for those two dead-in-the-water tunes.
Three first act performances in particular make the show worth the $30 ticket alone: Big-Ass Rock, Big Black Man and You Rule My World paired with the World reprise in the second act.
In all, I entered the theatre with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I had a really good time and am glad that San Jose has such a talented local production team.