"terrific revival of baseball musical"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 09/10/14

Welcome to Damn Yankees. Not the greatest show in the world but it has an interesting story, some great musical numbers and an enormous amount of camp humour.

It includes, of course, the greatest energising song of all time ‘You gotta have heart’. You only need to hear that first few bars with its cute harmonies and spirits are lifted. It is a great idea to use it as the final number as everyone is taking their bows as it sends the audience out happy.

It is a Baseball story. Joe Boyd a middle aged property developer spends six months of every year cheering on his local team – The Washington Senators but they are failing miserably. He enlists the help of the Devil – or Mr Applegate – who turns him into a young baseball genius Joe Hardy.
Director Robert McWhir has gathered a handsome and supremely energetic and supple band of young men to play the Baseball Team. And Robert 0’Reilly has really put them through it to perform his acrobatic dance routines. They are all accomplished dancers and they sing up a storm to the musical direction of Michael Webborn.

This is definitely a show for the boys but Nova Skipp as Joe Boyd’s long suffering wife is a sweet and wistful in her Penelope style patience. It is good to see Garry Bland on stage – a middle aged newcomer to the business who acquits himself well as the middle aged Joe. Tony Stansfield is a convincing coach Van Buren, who leads the team, trying desperately to invigorate them .

Jonathan de Ellis has enormous fun as Mr Applegate – the highly camp devil who has many nefarious reasons for changing Joe Boyd into Joe Hardy. His great number ‘Those were the Bad old Days’ is a showstopper.’ Poppy Tierney plays Lola, his sexy sidekick Lola who is sent by him to deflect Joe’s longing for his wife.

Elizabeth Futter plays Gloria, the press lady. This is a really difficult role as she has to sing along with the very powerful male chorus, ‘Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo’. She carrries it off well and the number leads into perhaps the most exciting chorography in the show.
Alex Lodge as Joe Hardy is a real discovery – he is tall, has the face of an angel, can sing and dance with the rest but has the personality of a young eager and rather naive young man which is highly endearing and perfect for the role. I predict that given the right opportunities, he will have a great future in the business. His final number with Lola ’Two Lost Souls’ is performed beautifully by both of them – a relatively unknown number which should not remain so.

A satisfying, light hearted look at life and baseball. A load of fun.

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