The Full Monty is one of those quirky little shows which, despite its unfortunate origins as an adaptation of a well known and rather quaint British movie to a slightly less endearing American version, it has plenty of saving graces.   It boasts a decent score, peppered with several knockout ballads and a book that pumps rapid fire wit.

I caught up with leading man Scott Mackenzie, who plays the role of Jerry, after the opening of StageArt’s three week season at the National Theatre in St Kilda.

Scott: “I jumped at the opportunity to work with StageArt first and foremost after seeing the quality of shows they produce. I’ve known the music for ages but had never seen the show so I was very curious to see what it would be like.”

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TP: Obviously there’s THAT scene at the end of the show…. Did you have to overcome any performance anxiety around getting your kit off?

Scott: “You’d think my psychologist would have been on standby in the lead up to that scene but honestly – it’s been a bloody hoot! I wouldn’t call myself an exhibitionist but I definitely don’t have an issue with being naked (if people wanna look). The show is more than just a group of blokes getting their kits off. It’s a story that everyone can relate to in some way and it touches on a vast array of heavy human experiences such as loss of employment, depression and suicide, homophobia, divorce, child custody, gender stereotypes and simple human connection. I think having these real experiences mixed with the fun style of the show make for a unique experience for the audience.”

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TP: What’s the process been like?

Scott: “Drew Downing (director) really understands musical comedy. Executing the appropriate beats throughout script so we can deliver on the gags in the best way possible. Nathan Firman’s musical direction has been meticulous, making sure we give the score as much colour and shade as possible. It’s been brilliant watching these creatives in their element. Everyone involved has worked very hard to get the show to where it is now (working up to 4 days a week, for several weeks). I’ve also appreciated being apart of a production with understudies.

Like others, I’ve seen the movie. That gave me an insight into the character early on. We touched on the financial crisis in the early 90’s (which this production is set) that these steelworkers were faced with. Workers being replaced with machines and the products that were being made in places like Buffalo were being shipped internationally. This information helped give me something substantial to work off and give weight to Jerry’s disparity early on in the rehearsal period. Everything else within the character was found within the script. Terrance McNally’s dialogue was a joy to uncover.”

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TP: What’s your favourite moment in the show?

The show is filled with so many memorable moments it’s really hard to pick one. I’ve really enjoyed working with Alexander Glenk who plays my son Nathan. Some of the more quiet, introspective moments we share together have become really special to me. And when Nathan calls Jerry a “Big Fuck!” at the end of the show. Gold! Gets me every time.

The Full Monty is playing at The National Theatre in St Kilda until March 19

To book CLICK HERE

Photography by Belinda Strodder

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