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Yippee Ki Yay at Wilton’s Music Hall

Yippee Ki Yay is one of the most idiosyncratic catchphrases in all cinema history, thanks to it being screamed, shouted, or groaned by Bruce Willis as John McClane in the Die Hard series of movies, even though there is much disagreement as to what it means! If it helps, it seems to have first been used in a 1930s Bing Crosby song ‘I’m an Old Cow Hand’!!!

Yippee Ki Yay. Photo credit, Rod Penn.
Yippee Ki Yay. Photo credit, Rod Penn.

Richard Marsh would undoubtedly know as he is one of the film’s greatest fans, as he tries to prove in his eighty-minute one-man deconstruction of the iconic 1988 all-action classic.

For those who do not know, Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ and is about an off-duty cop (McClane) who, on Christmas Eve, sees gunmen seizing hostages in an LA skyscraper. The film also starred Alan Rickman in his first “baddie” role as Hans Gruber, posing as a terrorist in order to seize millions of dollars in bearer bonds hidden in the basement.

Richard Marsh begins his very tongue-in-cheek adaptation by imagining Die Hard as an epic poem in rhyming couplets. Then he analyses his relationship to the movie as a fan. As he says in the programme notes “when I first watched it… it was the story of a hero kicking arse. Watching now, as a parent, in mid-life, it’s clearly the story of a marriage” which is why the story of his marriage and parenthood is intertwined with that of the film and with his portrayal of the film’s principal characters.

It must be said that eighty minutes fly by in Marsh’s company. He is a superb raconteur, rhyming couplets notwithstanding, and together with his various teddy bears (a hilarious throwaway joke about taking a teddy on a train comes to mind) and impersonations keep the audience continuously amused. He is greatly aided by Hal Chambers’ inventive direction which gives a variety of pace and style to the piece as well as Ben Hudson’s superb sound effects which add atmosphere and keep the audience awake, as if there were any danger of falling asleep!

A fun evening, especially for aficionados of Die Hard – but if there is anyone reading this who has never seen the film I suggest you do so first!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

When gunmen seize an LA skyscraper, off-duty policeman John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. This uplifting action romp (and unauthorised parody) pays affectionate tribute to the iconic 80s festive fan favourite.

Cast and Creative Team
Written and performed by Richard Marsh
Alternate performer Darrel Bailey
Directed by Hal Chambers
Movement and Associate Director Emma Webb
Lighting Designer Robbie Butler
Sound Designer and Composer Ben Hudson


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  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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