Yank! is a love story like you’ve never seen before. It’s HAIR meets Pearl Harbour with a dash of Brokeback Mountain. It’s so good, it’s hard to believe no one has brought it to theatres down under sooner!
Yank! isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill musical. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Most of all, it will make your heart hurt with empathy for the main and supporting lead characters, Stu and Mitch respectively.
Originally produced off-Broadway in New York, Yank! is an international musical that has graced stages in three continents; its Australian premier at the Brisbane Powerhouse makes it the fourth. It’s fair to say local independent theatre company Understudy Productions made a discerning choice to bring Yank! to Australia. It’s by far the BEST original musical that has been produced in decades.
Stu, played by Andy Johnston, is a nervous 18-year-old Midwest American who has been conscripted to join the 89th squadron during World War II. Noticing that Stu is finding it hard to fit in with the other guys, Mitch (Alex Gibson-Giorgio) befriends him and they soon realise they have a connection that goes beyond a platonic friendship. However, challenge after challenge ensues because homosexuality is a military crime; and woe to any man who desires another man.
The Understudy Production cast and orchestra do justice to the outstanding lyrics and musical composition, which have a wonderful ‘Sondheim’ feel. With stellar performances from perfectly cast stars, every moment is believable and faultless. Gibson-Giorgio, in particular, is the epitome of exceptional acting and singing. Some of his character’s moments are the musical’s most powerful and poignant.
UK director Ian Good and Brisbane choreographer Dan Venz nailed every movement on stage − from the simple blocking to the complicated layered combinations.
We predict multiple Helpmann Award nominations for Understudy Productions’ Yank!
Yank! is showing at the Brisbane Powerhouse during the Melt: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture until 14 July 2019.