While the set does look a little amateurish, with some parts threatening to collapse at any moment, the production on the whole is far more professional. The first act is comprised mainly of upbeat or romantic tunes with plenty of camp dance routines, including a rather impressive tap segment. Chris Cuming’s choreography sets the scene beautifully, with nice ensemble numbers and those early buoyant routines.
The second act takes a more serious look at the consequences of the characters actions and the brutal realities of being gay in the army at that time. The audience is taken on an emotional journey which is both fascinating and distressing.
Unsurprisingly, it’s a fairly testosterone fuelled production, and the female characters, many pivotal to the story, are all played by Sarah-Louise Young. It actually works really well, representing the psyche of the soldiers starved of female company, Young does a remarkable job of giving each character a distinct personality.
Andy Coxon plays Mitch, he’s fantastic at displaying the conflict his character feels, fooling himself as much as his fellow soldiers about his sexuality, despite playing the macho hero, there’s a beautiful tenderness in his performance. Scott Hunter is breath-taking as Stu, in those later scenes of act two, he passionately and compellingly portrays the fear and injustice of the situation, it is a truly powerful performance.
“Some stories didn’t make it into the history books…” and Yank! Is a beautiful love story, and one that deserves to be told. The score, cast and choreography are first class and this could easily enjoy a decent West End run, with some upgrading of sets and costumes. While there’s a lot to love, it’s the touching and dynamic performances from Andy Coxon and Scott Hunter, who have this incredible chemistry together, which makes this one of the best musicals to hit London this year.
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