Yank! A World War II Love Story: Charing Cross Theatre
I normally wait a while before reviewing but this show was just amazing and I wanted to get my thoughts down straight away. I saw Yank! A World War II Love Story at Charing Cross Theatre on 2nd August 2017 and I am so glad I did!
Scott Hunter, who played main character Stu, was just mesmerizing throughout. His conviction and acting was driven with such passion and commitment that I completely believed and fell for the character. From being a very nervous, worried ‘kid’ to growing and becoming a proud, strong fighter was utterly believable and moving. His relationship with the other cast members was great and his vocals throughout were stunning.
Andy Coxon, Mitch, was equally as passionate and compelling to watch. I especially liked his decline after Stu left to become a journalist for Yank magazine. Andy has a superb voice and range and this was used to good effect in this show. The relationship between Scott and Andy on stage was emotional and real. The actors certainly connected for the audience and gave a great performance.
All of the cast were incredible throughout. I especially liked Lee Dillion-Stuart, Kris Marc-Joseph and Scott Davies. Each actor played their part with conviction and the songs were delivered with passion. The harmonies were impressive and all of the vocals were top-notch. A special mention must go to Sarah-Louise Young who played about 7 different female characters in the show. She performed each character uniquely (helped by a great selection of wigs) and, although was only on stage for limited time, played a crucial role in telling the story of the young men sent away to fight for ‘Uncle Sam’.
The use of a quite limited stage space seemed no problem and the choreography by Chris Cuming was fantastic. I loved how they mixed different genres such as tap with more contemporary styles and army style drills. It has similar veins to ‘From Here to Eternity‘ and the dancing was just as (if not more) impressive.
I thought the lighting by Aaron J. Dootson was very effective. The use of spot lights for Stu while he was addressing the audience, changing of colours to suit the dance, style or occasion worked really well and made good use of a limited backdrop.
The plot and story is so important and, although it was hard to watch at times, it is a story that could so easily be fact for so many young men and women, even now. The characters were fictional but because of the current climate and emphasis on gay rights, LGBT, Donald Trump and wars in countries that still reject gay rights I feel that it is an important story for people to see and understand regardless of their background.
Like I said before, some of the show was uncomfortable to watch. The interrogation scene, for example, was difficult to watch with the incredible acting and emotion on stage and the loud dramatic, almost painful, sound effects. I think that was the point though. Things like this aren’t meant to be all glitz and glam. Things have to be uncomfortable and raw. This show definitely accomplished this.
I had goosebumps so many times during the show and completely understand all of the hype and repeat bookings. I will definitely be seeing this show again and can only hope that it returns at some point as it clearly deserves for more people to see the story and its incredibly talented cast and creatives.