Die Hard is my favourite Christmas movie. So a performance poetry version of the classic 1980s action flick sounded just the ticket.
Yippee Ki Yay is a fantastic piece of theatre written and performed by Richard Marsh.
The poet, writer and performer tells the abridged story of Die Hard in wonderfully inventive rhyming couplets.
The 1988 movie tells the story of New York cop John McClane, who finds himself battling Hans Gruber and his gang of terrorists in the Los Angeles skyscraper Nakatomi Plaza where his wife Holly is a high ranking executive.
Of the famous opening scene where a fellow airline passenger shares his innovative method to overcome a fear of flying he rhymes:
“For instant relaxation when you reach your destination, pal – here’s how it goes:
Take off your shoes, and then your socks, and then make fists with your toes.”
This advice, of course, is what leads to Willis’s New York cop John McClane spending the movie fighting the terrorists barefoot.
Yippee Ki Yay
Each character’s lines are delivered in Marsh’s best impersonation of the actor’s voice. He’s no Rory Bremner, but Marsh mimics Bruce Willis’s world-weary drawl to near perfection. He makes his best attempt at villainous Hans Gruber but no one can do justice to the wonderful Alan Rickman’s rich and captivating tones.
Marsh met his wife on a Reddit chatroom devoted to Die Hard. Their mutual appreciation for the 1988 movie was the spark that led to them falling in love.
Interspersed with a retelling of the film is the tale of their coming together, marrying and having children. The backstory of his own Die Hard related romance provides a touching counterpoint to the rollicking silliness of the main narrative.
Yippee Ki Yay is an extraordinary one-man performance. Marsh manages to juggle playing John McClane; Hans Gruber; Holly Gennero; villainous henchman Karl; doughty, donut loving cop Al Powell; greasy, cocaine-addled executive Harry Ellis and more.
He switches easily between them, flawlessly altering accent and mannerisms.
It’s all done with a knowing wink and a nod – Marsh jests several times that he’s the spitting image of a young Bruce Willis.
You do need to have a working knowledge of Die Hard to appreciate Yippee Ki Yay. But if you are a fan then as McClane himself said: “Welcome to the party, pal!”