I have to wonder if the praise the Broadway musical adaptation of the British film The Full Monty has earned is really about critics and audiences thinking it's that good, or if just doesn't seem that bad in comparison to drivel like Mamma Mia! and Saturday Night Fever that's been cluttering up the commercial stage of late.
The book by accomplished playwright Terrence McNally is marginally superior to its musical peers, but it exudes a forced charm in moving the tale of laid-off steelworkers who take up stripping from England to Buffalo, N.Y., and it conveys little of the subtly crafted characterizations McNally gives his "straight" plays. But even more resoundingly unremarkable is David Yazbek's pop score, a collection of plodding, clumsy, instantly forgettable songs with poorly crafted lyrics that compete with McNally's language when they should complement it seamlessly.
Through July 21st at the National Theatre, 1321 Penn. Ave. NW. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 800-447-7400.