Sit back, relax and take a moment to imagine the perfect body. How it looks in daylight, at night time, in various different sets of clothes and, of course, undressed. Now, open your eyes and compare your fantasy with your own body. Unless your name is Narcissus, the chances are there will be some differences between dream body and real body. All of us get upset with our bodies about something. Too short, too tall, too slim, too fat, etc and this is the message that is at the heart of Boys in the Buff – The Concert which is enjoying a limited run at the King’s Head Theatre.
Boys in the Buff – The Concert isn’t a play or anything sensible like that. Instead , it is a really fun evening of entertainment, song, dance and jokes all hosted by the wonderful Miss Diana Diamonte (Shani Cantor) who, with the help of her boys – Phil (Eli Caldwell), Dan (Adam Mroz), Max (Adam O’Shea) and Richard (Daniel Timoney) – discuss the world of bodies and what we all think of them. This is done in a variety of musical styles – words and music by Chris Burgess – that when added to Robbie O’Reilly’s choreography and Elia Baker’s costumes may make you think you are seeing five or six West End productions at the same time. The whole production is brought together by Director Adam Scown to produce a truly awesome hour of entertainment. Actually, not only entertainment but also knowledge comes out from the show. For example, do you know what is wrong with Michelangelo’s statue of David? Well, I didn’t but I do now.
Now, there may be some irony in the spectacle of four extremely fit, good-looking young men – Diana’s Boys – doing a show about body image but in fact, they just reinforce the point that no matter how good you look, there will always be something wrong. Go to any gym and you will see the same people there every day working out aiming to get but never, in their minds, achieving the perfect body. It sort of makes me glad I gave up and let everything go south years ago.
There are some stand out numbers in the show, especially the quite horrific taunting song ‘Only a Joke’ and Miss Diamonte’s number ’Big Hearted Mama’, not to mention the wonderful ‘Rip off Your Clothes and Feel Free’ by Sarah Travis. And I have to say the choreography is superb with all five actors utilising every inch of a very small space to perform some quite complicated routines – including, at one point, a step class.
The actors themselves are the original ‘triple threat’ and really bring the show to life with an enthusiasm that is infectious and engaging. They all come across as warm and friendly and let’s be honest are all ruddy good singers and dancers too. But there is more to it than that. The final number – which does include nudity – could easily be tacky and cheesy but instead, there is a pure Joie de vivre coming from the stage that the nudity is secondary to the enjoyment of seeing uninhibited performers at their best.
So, to sum up. Boys in the Buff – The Concert is not necessarily a show I would take my maiden aunt to see – I’m not sure I could restrain her from jumping on the stage. Aside from anything I don’t think I will be able to watch a Shakespearean soliloquy in quite the same way again. But overall, this is a brilliant, funny and very clever show that approaches an extremely difficult – and often emotional – subject head on and turns it into an evening of sheer entertainment. The show is slick, cheeky (literally), fast-paced and totally absorbing; packing so much into its hour-long run that there is barely a moment to get your breath back. It works on every level and is definitely one of the shows to see this Christmas.
Review by Terry Eastham
’BOYS IN THE BUFF’ is a musical revue about body image, diets, the gym, selfies, Botox, nip ‘n’ tucks, photo shopping and what we endure trying to look good. It’s a show about everybody for everybody!
Diana Diamonte hosts the evening, inspiring her four ‘boys’ to explore the naked truth about their bodies and how they feel about them. With a cast who act, sing and dance, this show boasts a host of brand new musical comedy numbers – and a finale strip routine guaranteed to bring the house down.
Strictly over 18s only. This show contains full-frontal nudity.
Boys in the Buff: The Concert
28th November – 9th December 2017