Mark Bautista goes ‘Full Monty’
MANILA, Philippines - If you’re looking to celebrate summer with something sizzling-hot and wildly entertaining, Viva Atlantis Theatricals’s “The Full Monty” is the musical to watch.
Adapted from the book by Terrence McNally and with musical score by David Yazbek, “The Full Monty” is a musical about 6 American men laid off by their factory and forced into unemployment. Desperate to earn some cash, they put together a strip show after observing how popular such shows are with their wives.
The musical runs until May 5 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
If the prospect of seeing scantily-clad men gyrating their hips doesn’t sound like entertainment to you, perhaps you’ll be convinced after hearing who the scantily-clad men are.
Making his debut on the theater stage is singer-actor Mark Bautista. He plays Jerry Lukowski, a single dad who needs money in order to keep partial custody of his son. Bossa nova singer and recording artist Sitti Navarro plays Jerry’s former wife.
Veteran thespian Jamie Wilson plays Jerry’s overweight best friend Dave whose unemployment depression is endangering his marriage. Dave’s sensual, strip-show-loving wife is brought to life by actress Ciara Sotto.
Jerry and Dave’s fellow laid-off workers are played by award-winning recording artist and theater actor OJ Mariano, multi-award-winning recording artist and thespian Marco Sison, and singer Niño Alejandro (also making his theater debut).
Comedian and former UP Madrigal singer Arnell Ignacio plays Harold Nichols, their former boss. Harold is an over-indulgent husband to luxury-loving Vicki Nichols played by stage and singing royalty Ima Castro.
Last but definitely not the least, seasoned singer-actress Jay Valencia-Glorioso stars as the naughty but lovable pianist and mother figure to the boys.
Last April 21, I was able to watch a matinee show of “The Full Monty.”
Undoubtedly, the most anticipated performance was Mark Bautista’s.
Though the handsome ballad singer has performed onstage and onscreen countless times since garnering first runner-up in the TV talent show “Star for a Night,” his ability to perform in musicals has not been tested until now.
Bautista did not disappoint. He brought in a testosterone-driven yet touching performance as hunky Jerry; channeling the confident swagger of a ladies’ man one minute, then the vulnerability of a dad about to lose his son the next.
This is a Mark Bautista few have ever seen. He sheds his squeaky-clean, suit-clad image to reveal a hip-gyrating, lasso-wielding hunk complete with a beach-perfect bod (read: abs and ultra-toned arms).
But though he had the voice for the role and definitely the body, Bautista could improve on line-execution a bit more. I felt that some of his lines were awkwardly said. Perhaps it was from nervousness or the novelty of the musical format. In any case, this can be easily smoothened out by more experience.
Bautista’s courage to take on the musical stage and make his debut in such a challenging production more than makes up for kinks in his performance. I’m confident musical-lovers can expect great things from him.
Jamie Wilson is perfectly cast as Dave, the character who made the audience laugh the hardest. His comic-timing is perfect and so is his portrayal of the down-in-the-dumps yet endearing character.
Jamie’s Dave is the perfect foil to Mark’s Jerry. If Jerry’s abs are rock-hard, Dave’s tummy is marshmallow-soft. If Jerry is enterprising and strong-willed, Dave is spine-less and unconfident. A softie both inside and out, Dave is self-deprecating but loving. But don’t think that his weight stops him from pulling off (pun intended) the same sexy moves as his fellow strippers!
Audiences can also look forward to Ima Castro’s spotlight-stealing performance as the jet-setting wife of Arnell Ignacio’s Harold. Her powerful voice and crazy on stage antics will have audiences clutching their tummies in laughter.
OJ Mariano’s angelic voice was also one of the most memorable elements of the musical. He backed it up with solid acting, breathing life to the painfully shy loner Malcolm who has one of the most interesting back stories of the bunch.
More than a striptease
More than a striptease, this musical explores the relationship between men and women and how they deal with hardships, whether separately or as a team. It’s a heart-warming story of camaraderie and empowerment as the boys find self-confidence and form strong bonds of friendship as they work together.
The musical also asks many important questions on the definition of manliness and the way society views the stripping business.
But perhaps what will resonate most with musical lovers is the musical’s tribute to the uplifting power of performance and art.
“The Full Monty” is a musical to be enjoyed by both men and women. It’s hilarious and exciting as the play figuratively and literally reveals more and more.
In the end, will they go the full monty? You’ll have to watch to find out. - Rappler.com
'The Full Monty' runs until May 5 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Makati. For tickets, call 892-7078 (Viva Atlantis Theatricals) or 891-9999 (Ticketworld). For more information, visit www.vivaatlantistheatricals.com.