After consistently excellent reviews upon every prior production, it was imperative to see what everyone was raving about. Operation Mincemeat is definitely not one to miss.
Demonstrating theatrical mastery from start to finish, with very funny turns and a score packed with engaging and catchy tracks, there’s nothing you can’t love. Telling the unbelievably true story of a grand plan and a stolen corpse, it’s 1943 in Britain, and the war is not going our way. In an attempt to get things back on track, a scheme must be devised to ensure Hitler's men were moved to the correct place.
Directed by Donnacadh O’Briain and choreographed by Jenny Arnold, the piece is fantastically staged, and well suited to the space in small venues. However, despite its overall size, the performance itself is definitely larger than life, and its energy permeates beyond expectation.
Successfully gender-bending roles, and each actor becoming several different characters over the course of the show, this brings humour and shows immense talent to be conducted with professionalism. There are numerous impressive switches that keep the show fast paced yet remaining fluid, that come with their corresponding props all perfectly appearing at the precise times. The main set (designed by Helen Coyston, who was also on costumes) is initially comprised of five telephones, and smooth transitions of various doors, chairs, and metal cabinets happen throughout to match the plot.
Having had only a week to learn the role, Sean Carey is currently playing Charles Cholmondeley who provides the innovative brains behind the initial plan. Natasha Hodgson does an impeccable job of becoming Ewen Montagu, the passionate front runner of the operation with countless comedic bouts. Being a woman striving to give more, Claire-Marie Hall is Jean Leslie, who once was primarily instructed to make tea as a new secretary, before showing to be an asset to the team. Along with the Bond creator- Ian Fleming- Zoe Roberts takes on the role of the highest ranked in the building, Johnny Bevan, while Jak Malone becomes the formidable administrator, as well as the glitzy London coroner. It is evident that not one is subordinate in displaying their skill, and between the five of them, collectively sound as if there’s a whole company backing them.
The music and lyrics, devised by the SpitLip team, are witty, often taking inspiration from other hit musicals such as Hamilton, which is particularly notable in the rap sections. Conducted faultlessly all round, a cast recording is a must!
Consistently exceptional, it is difficult to pick notable moments. From the introduction of the characters, to building the identity of their drowned man; being on a submarine, to the beginning of the second act, there isn't a stifling second where the musical felt anything less than exemplary.
With a dazzling finale, the lasting images of Operation Mincemeat will leave you wanting it to never end. It's pure escapism into this hilariously bizarre act of history presented in a way that is truly ingenious.