The plot follows the real-life foiling of Hitler by the British who, in 1943, used a dressed-up corpse to trick the Nazi leader into sending his troops to Sardinia and Greece, allowing them to successfully invade Sicily.
SpitLip's song-fuelled take on the story first had London audiences guffawing back in 2019, but the company – a collaboration between three members of Fringe favourites Kill the Beast and composer Felix Hagan – used the pandemic to rewrite the show into something sharper, tighter and even funnier.
Catchy refrains are cleverly offset by Hamilton-style, rhythmic raps, as the five-strong cast shrug off jackets and throw on hats, each performing a primary character and several background figures in their playful reimagining of the lead-up to the mission.
Gender-swapped roles can feel tick-boxy when done for the sake of it. Operation Mincemeat is the opposite: Natasha Hodgson is, to excuse a cliché, made for the part of British intelligence officer Euan Montagu. Her performance alone is worth the ticket price. Similarly, Jak Malone is wholly believable as prim and proper MI5 secretary Hester Leggett, with no wig or femme costume for aid. It’s all credit to his performance, and careful musical direction by Joe Bunker, that the show’s one tender moment makes us laugh then cry.
Operation Mincemeat demands a marathon performance from its five exceptional cast members, plus its off-stage band of three. Rarely is a performance so unquestioningly worthy of a standing ovation.
While the Operation Mincemeat mission itself might not have been completely watertight, triumphing through luck as much as careful planning, this slick production sure is. Here’s to it having a long life on stage.
|Operation Mincemeat, Riverside Studios review
|Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9RL | MAP
|Hammersmith (All lines) (underground)
05 May 22 – 09 Jul 22, 7:30 PM – 9:45 PM
|£25 - £35
|Click here for more information and to book