• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Fringe 2023: Yippee Ki Yay

ByJack Ferguson

Aug 27, 2023
Actor crouches behind a chair with a Teddy bear on, in dramatic stage lighting.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Nothing will prepare you for this homage to one of the greatest action and (whisper it) greatest Christmas movies of all time. Yippee Ki Yay (The Die Hard Parody) is a warm hug of a one-man show for ‘die hard’ enthusiasts of the John McTiernan directed film and will also certainly convert into superfans those who haven’t heard of this masterclass in action film making.

Currently playing at Gilded Balloon at the Museum, the show is performed by Darrel Bailey, who on stage is a combusting ball of relentless energy. He plays a young father who is a fan of the movie Die Hard and addresses the audience directly to tell the story of how he first met the love of his life because of their mutual appreciation of the film. The entire show is performed in rhyming verse, with the young father intercutting his retelling of the film with describing scenes from his relationship, and how it develops and falters over several years. He relates the character journeys of John McClane and his estranged wife Holly in Die Hard to his own fluctuating relationship.

You can feel Bailey’s love for Die Hard radiate from his body when he astutely and hilariously impersonates characters from the film. He moves seamlessly between characters with such different personas, from the wise-cracking, taciturn McClane to the slow, deliberate German-accented baritone of Hans Gruber, which is a delight for the audience.

The show is a film buff’s dream due to the young father’s infectious enthusiasm for Die Hard and its heroes and villains. Not only does he know every detail of the plot and each line of dialogue, but he is also able to mine unexpected humour from iconic scenes by pointing out various plot holes and by voicing the inner monologues of the characters.

Elaborate staging isn’t needed as scenes from the film are described and performed so vividly. Not many retellings of an action movie use a watering can and After Eights to help bring scenes to life, or have the leading macho man fight with a stuffed bear, but this retelling does, and to amusing effect! Lighting is also used shrewdly to create a claustrophobic atmosphere when recreating the iconic scene where McClane crawls through a ventilation shaft.

One of the most quotable lines from the film comes when Bruce Willis’ McClane crawls through the ventilation shaft and reminisces about how his trip to California was supposed to make him feel; “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…” Well, if you come to Yippee Ki Yay, you may be far from the sea, but there’ll be laughs aplenty.

Image by Steve Ullathorne provided to The Student as press material.

By Jack Ferguson