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click to enlarge Bared hearts and bare bums: The Full Monty at - the Pikes - Peak Center.
  • Bared hearts and bare bums: The Full Monty at the Pikes Peak Center.

It's hard not to love a movie with misplaced garden gnomes and full frontal male nudity. The Pikes Peak Center agrees and next week will present the stage adaptation of the 1997 British film hit The Full Monty, directed by Jack O'Brien.

The musical comedy sticks closely to the original story of six manly-men factory workers as they struggle to regain purpose after getting the pink slip. The stage production departs from the screen, however, in placing the story in Buffalo, NY rather than Sheffield, England making the characters a lot easier to understand.

Under O'Brien's direction, the stage play has earned 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, but relative Broadway newcomer composer and lyricist, David Yazbek, grabs the spotlight. The grand opener, "Scrap," proves Yazbek has what it takes to create a blockbuster entrance. His sentimental ballads, "Breeze Off the River" and "You Walk with Me," are memorable and serve as magnificent emotional drivers.

O'Brien has created well-developed and complicated characters; he exposes their weaknesses and fears, and then runs them up and down a roller coaster of circumstance forcing them to come to terms with their new lives.

One character struggles over custody with his ex, still hoping to get back together with her. With maturity and emotion, he sheds years of unrealistic social expectations. Another confronts his physical insecurities. Flabby, overweight and hardly endowed, he turns to playful, and public, self-deprecation to resolve his shortcomings.

The script is witty and quick, scooping out the characters' emotional guts. The result is both comically gut busting and touchingly human.

-- Aaron Menza

capsule

The Full Monty

The Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 15-16, at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices vary; Call 520-7469 for more info.

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