Saskatoon Summer Players strips down for ‘The Full Monty’

(left to right) Tyler Campbell, Andrew Linsley and Rob Armstrong feature in the Saskatoon Summer Players production of 'The Full Monty' at the Broadway Theatre from Nov. 13 to 16, 2023. (Supplied / Photo by Caitlyn Ursaki)

The Full Monty is the first musical production of the 60th season of the Saskatoon Summer Players (SSP), and it promises to strip down to the bare essentials — both literally and figuratively. 

The show runs from Nov. 13 to 16 at the Broadway Theatre.

Lorna Batycki, the show’s director, says “it’s very much about characters first.” 

“People will not be disappointed when they come to this show,” Batycki says. “There is definitely a lot of heart, soul, and, you know, skin… I always say it’s a cheeky little play with heart.”

The story centers on a group of guys who have been out of work for eighteen months. In their desperation to provide for their families and make some money, they cook up a scheme to do a one-night-only male striptease act, where they will “bare it all” in the hopes of making ends meet. 

Based on the 1997 film of the same name, the musical version of The Full Monty focuses more on the journey of the characters as they build towards the stripshow than on nudity.

Despite the title and the plot, the musical is not truly about stripping. Brady Moore, who plays the character Malcolm, says “it’s really a show about friendship and community and you know getting together.” Moore also hints “there is a very interesting ending that you’ll want to see.”

Moore, who also fills the role of set designer, describes the minimalist set as a “stripped down” version of the show. 

“We wanted a very flexible environment that can kind of blend from patio bar to industrial core,” says Moore. “It’s definitely very abstract and in the same vein we are using very little in the way of props and sets because we want to focus on the character and the heart of the show.” 

Batycki says her take take on the production focuses on heart because that is the emphasis in the script. She says the metaphor of stripping goes further than skin deep. 

“Clothing is like a shield right?” Batycki says. “When you take that off, you’re really letting part of yourself be seen that normally isn’t, so it takes a lot of trust to do that.”

This production of The Full Monty has come to life in a more limited timeline than usual, which is why trust is so vital. Batycki says that they have only had six weeks to produce a full-scale musical, which is several weeks shy of the typical SSP schedule. While it promises to engage the audience with song, dance, and the removal of clothing, the limited preparation time has added a lot of pressure. 

Moore explains that “we are kind of building the airplane as we fly it, but it doesn’t feel bad.” Some of the best experiences are created under pressure, he says, and this show seems likely to impress.

In the end, Batycki believes audiences should be thrilled and titillated by this playful production.  

“It’s fun,” says Batycki. “They’re going to walk out of there feeling great. It’s got great music. It’s got fun choreography. There’s lots of opportunity for the audience to cheer and have a good time… the audience should walk out of there feeling even better than when they went in.”

The Full Monty runs at the Broadway Theatre from Nov. 13 to 16. Tickets are available at the Broadway Theatre Box Office.

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