Operation Mincemeat: A New Musical ★★★★ Fortune Theatre | Mar 29 - Aug 19, 2023


One of the strangest incidents from World War II is hilariously recalled in this Fringe hit that has now moved to the West End. The British ruse of arranging for the body of an apparently crashed pilot to wash ashore in Spain with disinformation about the Allied landing in Europe is one of the most daring and bizarre incidents of the war. This version of the story simultaneously spoofs and respects that daring venture. It's a fine line to walk, but it surprisingly works. The edginess of the Fringe with some sharp satire of about class and gender stereotyping is present, but so also is a real acknowledgement of the extraordinary daring and some of the questionable moral implications of the plan. The show runs from moments of anarchic comedy to interludes of gentle tenderness. The shocked laughter provoked by "Das Übermensch" is balanced by the sentimental rendition of "Dear Bill," and the ghoulish presentation of the coroner, Bernard Spilsbury, is juxtaposed with a later recognition of the humanity of the corpse that was used in the plot. In their multiple roles the members of the Spitlip company do a splendid job of keeping the zaniness going. David Cumming is wonderfully geeky as Charles Cholmondeley, although his anachronistic hairstyle is a bit distracting, and we thoroughly enjoyed Holly Sumpton's depiction of the over-confident Montagu. Zoë Roberts was appropriately officious and obtuse as Johnny Bevan and Christian Andrews was an endearing Hester Leggett. Operation Mincemeat: A New Musical has both heart and humour. You can't ask for more from a night out at the theatre.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Matt Crockett.

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