The Full Monty | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Full Monty

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The inaugural offering by Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place strikes a savvy balance between naughty and nice. The 2000 musical version of the 1997 British sleeper comedy about unemployed steelworkers stripping down in order to beef up their finances and confidence boasts just enough contemporary panache to set it apart from the usual fare at Drury Lane Oakbrook. At the same time, the new venue's plush crimson seats, big-ass crystal chandeliers, and gilded columns convey a comforting sense of theatrical luxury. And though some of the characters may be a bit out of shape, there's nothing flabby about director-choreographer Jim Corti's smart, genial staging. David Yazbek's muscular pop score comes across with roaring confidence and loads of charm. Terrence McNally's book sets the action stateside, in Buffalo, and he fleshes out (no pun intended) the women's roles and creates one wonderful new character, a seen-it-all nicotine-stained pianist, played with deadpan perfection by Renee Matthews. The Full Monty gets going a bit slowly thanks to McNally's meditations on unions and homophobia, but once the excellent cast hits its stride, the show is a toothsome delight. Through 7/10: Tue-Wed 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2:30 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7 PM. Wed 6/8 and 6/29, 1:30 and 7:30 PM. No show Tue 6/7. Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, 312-642-2000. $35-$48.

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