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Human Race Struts its Stuff with “The Full Monty”

Richard E. Waits, Matt Welsh, Josh Kenney, Christopher DeProphetis, Matt Kopec and Jamie Cordes in "The Full Monty"

Richard E. Waits, Matt Welsh, Josh Kenney, Christopher DeProphetis, Matt Kopec and Jamie Cordes in “The Full Monty”

Review by Liz Eichler of The Full Monty: Human race Theatre

I fully recommend THE FULL MONTY, playing now through October 4 at the HUMAN RACE THEATRE in Dayton.

In addition to the titillating strip tease acts, there is also a story, about how a steel town faces unemployment, unpaid bills, and broken lives. Much of it still rings as true now as in the play’s 1980’s Buffalo. The heart of the musical focuses on a few guys desperate to get a job to support a family. They are coping with changing role issues, going from breadwinners to house husbands, divorced dad, or hiding their job loss from their wives. Inspired to the attention the women of the town are giving a traveling male dancer, they commit to being male entertainers, and start learning to dance—not an easy task. They realize it’s hard in the spot light. Having once been body shamers, they are now the body shamed. We feel for these guys, and the cast does a great job connecting with the audience.

The cast is full of triple threats, professional actors with obvious skill and audience rapport. Richard Jarrett ‘s opening performance as Keno the male stripper sets the bar high, and the rest of the cast doesn’t disappoint. Josh Kenney and Matt Kopec are extraordinary and vibrant comedic talents. Richard Waits’ “Big Black Man” is a crowd pleaser. “Big-Ass Rock” is a clever hoot and features Kopec and the charming leads Christopher deProphetis and Matt Welsh. The ladies were fabulous as well, but the crowd favorite was Deb Colvin-Tener as Jeanette, as she channeled the goofy gruffness of Elaine Stritch.

Dick Block’s set is amazing. The many moving parts assist the fluid transitions of the action, with a turntable and multiple easily folding pieces. The set hid a live seven-piece band which keeps the show jumping. While beautiful and appropriate, the costumes are confusing, as there are multiple pieces from 2015, (my partner didn’t realize it was set in 1980 until the sweatband of the second act).

The Human Race Theatre is a new addition to the League of Cincinnati Theatres. This top notch production of THE FULL MONTY is a great opportunity to get to Dayton (it’s not as far you think!)