With the Summer approaching, I am feeling the growing sense of excitement for the World Cup effervescing off most men I know. As much as I love a bit of football, this does mean losing a certain degree of attention whilst attempting to hold a conversation with the lads. Therefore I can certainly empathise with the plight of the wives of Washington Senators fans, whose baseball loving husbands ignore them for “Six Months Out of Every Year.” I may take a leaf out of their book and express my discontent in a frothy song and dance number!
Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop and with Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (the musical duo behind The Pajama Game.) Written and set in the 1950’s, this production has a fashionable vintage vibe about it and even though it isn’t the best musical ever written, it is jam packed with good sporting fun!
Liam Christopher – Lloyd brings a fresh face and a nice voice to the role of Joe, a middle aged Estate Agent who sells his soul to become a pro baseball star, thus leaving his former life (and wife) behind him. Similarly pleasant was Jenny Delisle, who plays joes jilted wife, Meg. The pair demonstrated real heart throughout the show, especially in the final number, “A Man Doesn’t Know.”
The cast were very strong all round and I especially believed in the sportsmanship of the Washington baseball players all round, whose song and dance numbers were by far the most enjoyable. Rachel Lea Gray played my favourite character of the show, Gloria, a problematic journalist with the love of good story (and a good dance solo.) Gray really came to life in the stand out number “Super Joe from Hannibal, MO,” which was fine work from Adler and Ross!
One never really knows what to expect from a fringe production and with Damn Yankees I was presently surprised that this show, directed by Dom O’Hanlon, was very professional indeed. The set and costumes were fantastic and truly painted the old school sporting aesthetic. However most impressive of all was Becky East’s choreography, which the entire cast fulfilled with a high level of skill and flair. Also, there were ROLLERSKATES at one point! Enough said!
Despite a few lines being fluffed here and there (mainly from the bringer of doom, Mr Applegate/ The devil himself), the show was highly engaging and included some real triple threats. This is the perfect springtime production and will appeal to sporting fans and lovers of a cheesy musical alike.