This is one of those shows where you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get from the title alone. Boys in the Buff, previously at Stockwell Playhouse, and now at The King’s Head Theatre is like the Full Monty, but much quicker in getting to the main event. Also dispensed with is a storyline packed with characters, it’s just the four boys, and the hostess for the evening, Diana Diamonte. But, don’t be fooled in to thinking this is merely a striptease, as one of the boys says “low-brow is too low”.
Taking our seats to the beat of classic disco tunes is another indicator of what’s to come, an hour of high camp frivolity in a burlesque cabaret styling. While it’s not quite West End musical, the songs from Chris Burgess are upbeat and very comical. There’s a definite nod to musical theatre heritage, I heard a few notes that were reminiscent of West End favourites, including Sunset Boulevard, though I cannot recall Glenn Close ever singing about a missing foreskin.
The premise of Boys in the Buff is framed around the concept of body image, and why we are all so obsessed with how we look. As you can imagine from the title, these themes are explored fully, and songs like ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ and ‘Does My Bum Look Big in This’ gives us plenty of insight to the subject.
Of course, looking at the boys, you couldn’t really imagine them having any kind of body confidence issues, but that’s sort of the point (well, maybe not the main point), we all have insecurities about our bodies, while imagining no-one else does.
As Diana, Shani Cantor definitely leads the group in terms of vocal talents, belting out some big numbers with impressive ease. As for the boys, they showed off their talents elsewhere; I can honestly say I’ve never seen a Shakespeare sonnet performed like that before! Adam Mroz, Daniel Timoney, Adam O’Shea, and Eli Caldwell could never be accused of not throwing themselves fully into the performance.
The whole hour is packed full of energy, I was exhausted just watching the gym routine, which involves step aerobics set to encouraging music. Choreography from Robbie O’Reilly perfectly captures the sentiment of the show, while Adam Scown’s direction and musical staging keeps it all looking fresh.
Boys in the Buff is definitely more comedy cabaret than Chippendales, it’s very funny indeed and does actually make you think about the concept of body image, if only briefly before being otherwise distracted. Plenty of laughs, and a great score are just two of the many things that make this worth seeing, you can find out the rest of them for yourselves.