Yank! is a story which needs to be told, it teaches us about love, and shares a poignant and heartfelt message inspiring audiences to love freely and with no time to waste.
Yank! is the third in-house production born from the hugely successful paring of Hope Mill Theatre and Aria Entertainment, who together brought both Parade and cult classic Hair to Manchester audiences last year, with the addition of third producer Ben Millerman, Yank! further confirms their commitment to delivering new and innovative theatre as this beautiful production is brought to life by Director James Baker and his stellar cast.
Based on the 2010 Off-Broadway production written by David Zellnik with a score created by brother Joseph, Yank pays homage to Rodgers and Hammerstein and charmingly evokes the time period of the unforgettable 1940’s. The scrip has both great humour and enormous heart as we follow the journey of Stu (Scott Hunter) after he is called up to serve for his country in a war he doesn’t fully understand. As a vulnerable and scared young recruit Stu meets and falls in love with macho and self-assured, all-American guy Mitch (Barnaby Hughes), the two merely want to survive the war so they too can live and love their own American dream, sadly such a simple wish proves to be more of a challenge than any military battle they face, and so an emotional and complex uphill battle just in trying to be true to themselves begins.
Scott Hunter gives an exceptional performance as Stu, we see how love changes him from a fearful and weak new recruit into an assured and quietly confident man whose inner strength and belief in his right to love is unshakeable. The relationship between Hunter and Barnaby Hughes (Mitch) is heart-warming, delicate and pure with a strong on stage chemistry, you desperately want them to make it. The whole cast are superb, each character is delivered with colour and is strongly defined from the swaggering, larger than life, Czechowski (Kris Marc-Joseph) to the flamboyant and fabulous Rotelli (Tom Lloyd) every single cast member makes their mark. Special mention must go to both Chris Kiely who plays Atrie the toe-tapping photographer who takes Stu under his wing and Sarah-Louise Young who plays multiple female roles and delivers each and every one with style and sass.
There is stunning choreography from Chris Cuming culminating in the most beautiful of dream sequences which is a real highlight of this lovingly crafted production and again shows the sheer level of talent in this small cast of twelve.
Yank! is a delight, full of emotion and performed with true heart and soul, at a time when division is so rife it is crucial we see the importance of love, are able to love whom we choose and be loved back without question or complication. A truly special piece of theatre which delivers a powerful and honest message, Yank! is absorbing, dynamic and deeply moving.
Tickets available via http://www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk