Not literally though :(
Josh Sood's rather good band is a bit wasted on one of those musicals where the
songs feel like an afterthought, Rupert's songs are simple, infrequent and heavy on
the reprises, but the cast do their best with them.
In fact Joshua Stamp-Simon's production can't be faulted for enthusiasm, and in
those instances where Colker's material has stood the test of time the cast come up
with a lot of funny moments and plenty of charm, especially from Hastings, despite
his character's superficially abrasive nature. The trouble is everything from the
1980s seemed to date almost instantly, and that's a particular problem in the first
act, which largely concerns itself with introducing us to each of the three guys via
their standup routines. Ted's everyman act and Phil's angry guy schtick show their
age (trying to elicit sympathy for the Baby Boomers is... something of a ship that's
sailed now) yet each has its moments; but Kenny's frantic Andy Kaufman-cum-Robin
Williams act is nigh on unwatchable. I was very aware the other two had promised to
give him a taste of his own medicine and interrupt his act, and it couldn't come
Although the second act's story of the trio becoming successful (in a cheesy sitcom
where they play undercover cops in drag) and finding out that fame isn't what they
expected isn't new, at least it means the actual standup routines are kept to a
minimum. It makes for a much less patchy second half, but Stamp-Simon might have
been best off really ramping up the eighties nostalgia to make a virtue of it.
Instead, although there's still plenty to enjoy in the cast and musicians'
performances, the piece itself makes it clear that standup is an odd conceit to hang
a musical around if you want it to have any kind of longevity - even if Colker
avoids overly topical material, performance styles can really date it as well.
3 Guys Naked From The Waist Down by Jerry Colker and Michael Rupert is booking in
repertory until the 15th of December at the Finborough Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.