Taree Arts Council – The Full Monty

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You’ve seen the movie on screen – now it’s time to see The Full Monty in the flesh! In November, Taree Arts Council will bring the musical adaptation of the hit film to the stage in what promises to be a fun, entertaining and somewhat cheeky production.


The story follows the journey of six unemployed steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, who decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives’ enthusiasm for a touring male revue.

One of them, Jerry, declares their show will be better than the dancers because they’ll go ‘the full monty’– strip all the way.

Paul Eade has been interested in directing the show for Taree Arts Council, which in recent years has staged the successful Cats and Miss Saigon, since he saw snippets of the musical online and heard the soundtrack.

“I loved the original film and (the musical) complements the film,” he said. “I think the audience will like the humour and comedy in it. It’s got really good messages about relationships and family. It’ll appeal to a wide audience. It’s not really suitable for young children, but early teens and on is fine.”

The music includes a mix of Rock songs and ballads, combined with quirky numbers that sound like ballads but have lyrics to bring humour and also develop the storyline. The male cast, who will perform their full monty routine at the end of the show, have been watching their diets and exercising in preparation.

Behind the scenes is a reliable team helping Paul bring the show to the stage. They include choreographer Gayle Cameron, vocal director Deirdre Sutherland (also a cast member), stage manager Patrick Hignett, set builder Don Moore, costumes by Lea Young and props by Helen Grooteman.

Paul, who directed Nunsense in 2008, has been involved in every Taree Arts Council production in some way since 1990-91.

Meet the main cast:

Chris Alcock – plays Jerry Lukowski.

Originally from Coventry, England, Chris moved to Australia almost 18 years ago and has a background in acting and dance. A primary school teacher, he’s a keen performer who has appeared in several Taree Arts Council productions.

His character, Jerry, is a ‘risk taker’, who acts like a ‘big kid’ and looks for the fun in life, shirking responsibility. Jerry’s son, Nathan, is ‘the best thing ever’, and he would do anything for him, but avoids taking on a ‘father’ role and really just wants to be his mate.

Chris said The Full Monty is funny and is looking forward to finding out if the audience finds the same lines as funny as the cast. The only part of the show that has been a little difficult for him has been slimming down and cutting out beer!

Mike Collins – plays Dave Bukatinsky.

Mike Collins has been treading the boards for over 50 years, first appearing in school productions. By the time he arrived in Taree in the mid-1980s, he already had an impressive resume of productions he’s performed in or directed – some award-winning.

His character, Dave, has not had the easiest of lives, losing his dad while young, being laughed at at school because of his weight problem and having a limited education.

Dave lost his best mate, Don Lukowski, to a work accident and has had a major role in bringing up Don’s son, Jerry, who is now Dave’s best and most trusted friend.

Dave is out of work, a continual worrier who eats when he is depressed – and gets more depressed because he eats! Georgie, Dave’s wife, is the one good thing that has happened to him … she is everything to him.

Bruce Wiseman – plays Harold.

Bruce is a well-known theatre performer and a recently bestowed life member of Taree Arts Council. Bruce has appeared in many productions since he joined the Arts Council in the 1970s.

Harold is a former mill supervisor, now unemployed. He dotes on his wife, and this extends to covering up his unemployment for six months and keeping her bedecked in upper middle class luxury well past his means. Aloof at first, his ballroom dancing skills are what finally bring ‘Hot Metal’ alive.

James (Jim) Morris – plays ‘Horse’.

James plays the part of Horse (Big Black Man), a down and out character who needs a job, whose wife has died and is living with his aunt, who is pretty crook herself.

He’s heard that there are auditions for a part as a stripper, and Horse goes along to try his luck.

“I love the character Horse – he’s full of life, witty and funny,” said James. I never ever thought I’d be stripping on stage, in public. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies. I’ve never had so many butterflies but at the same time, I will be doing my very best and cannot wait to get back on stage again.”

Charlie Cavanagh – plays Malcolm.

Singing for most of his life, 22-year-old Charlie Cavanagh has been involved in amateur theatre for at least eight years.

He describes his character, Malcolm, as basically a mid-20s geeky, depressed night guard who lives with his mother.

“He’s never really had any friends and is ecstatic when the other characters accept him into their group. Although he’s not exactly stupid, he is a bit slow on social cues and colloquial language. When life starts to go wrong, he finds true companionship in an unexpected place.”

Alex Wilson – plays Ethan Girard.

Born in Scotland, Alex moved to Australia with his family at the age of five. He went to school in Wagga Wagga NSW. Alex’s musical interest began when he was 14, when he learned to play guitar, and then the bagpipes, followed by banjo. He is well known in the local area for his love of Country music and has won many awards, both locally and interstate talent quests.

His first musical was Taree Arts Council’s Miss Saigon in 2010.

He describes Ethan as a “kind hearted” gay man, an extrovert and eternal optimist.

“Ethan always wanted to be a dancer – but he couldn’t dance! He jumped at the opportunity to show off his ‘hidden talents’.”

Interview by Lauren Green. 

This story was published in issue 68 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus

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