Art,  London

Operation Mincemeat Review, New Diorama Theatre

Operation Mincemeat is a story about the unbelievable plan to fool Hitler during World War II by the British, involving a briefcase containing secret documents unveiling the Brits operational plans. Which was chained to a dead body floating in the coast of Spain.

What will writers think of next!

Except Operation Mincemeat really happened… Those plucky Brits!

As if the story wasn’t ridiculous enough, the team behind fantastic Kill The Beast have turned it into a musical comedy. And somehow manage to pull it off.

I think Spit Lip tackle every musical style possible, except heavy metal. Although they’d probably do that well too.

Glee, pop, rap, hip hop, doo wop, ballads; Spit Lip don’t why away from a challenge with composer Felix Hagan and his band backing them.

Spit Lip aren’t shabby movers either. The choreography contain shapes Destiny’s Child would be proud of (I’m sorry, my cultural pop references only go so far). And who thought you’d laugh at dancing Nazi’s moving to the far Reicht?

I lost count the number of characters there are in total, but it was pretty impressive for an ensemble of five (with equally impressive accents to match).

Whilst attempting to pull off the audacious plan, Operation Mincemeat allow the main character’s to develop, mostly through solo numbers. Not only are you rooting for the plan to come off, you’re rooting for them to succeed too.

The originator of the plan, Charles Cholmondeley, is a nerd who lacks confidence and continually doubts his own plan throughout.

Polar opposite, Ewen Montagu, holds the outwardly confidence of a used car salesman, not afraid to bend the truth to push the plan ahead.

Jean, an ambitious, young startlet who is trying to make a name for herself and rise during a time where females working in offices were receptionists. Or tea makers.

The middle class assistant, Hester, trying to keep order and a stiff upper lip (which is brought down tremendously with the musical’s most tender moment, a ballad about her lost love due to the war).

And there are also many lovable and hilarious, if slightly odd, side characters including a creepy mortician, a fumbling Yorkshire spy who has the responsibility to make or break the operation and Scottish ‘lads’ at the docks.

There’s also some fantastic gender neutral/swapping roles. If you want the funding you need to show diversity, Montagu says with a sly, ironic grin when talking about her own situation.

At 2 hours (and a 15 minute break) there’s a lot of story and songs to get through. Although, I feel they could have shaved a couple of the solo songs in the second act which add little to the narrative.

But that’s my sole criticism and didn’t stop me from crying with laughter throughout and walking away from the New Diorama Theatrr with a huge grin on my face.

I can wait to see what Spit Lip comes out with next. Although I might be waiting a while. I fully expect to see this getting the West End transfer it deserves. Until then you can listen to the Operation Mincemeat songs on Soundcloud.

If you saw Kill The Beast and loved it (which I did), you’ll love Operation Mincemeat too. They also have a fantastic podcast based on the characters in Kill The Beast, Who Exploded Vivien Stone.

https://www.newdiorama.com/whats-on/operation-mincemeat

Rating – 5/5

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