It’s 1943, war is raging, and Britain gambles the lives of 150,000 troops on the idea of a socially awkward insect-enthusiast.
Writing group SpitLip takes the famous World War II operation and turns it into a witty and intelligent new musical. As the British military aim to move their troops into Italy, an underdog of MI5, Charles Cholmondeley comes up with a plan to plant fake documents with a corpse dressed as a British agent abandoned on the Spanish coast. Operation Mincemeat follows the team of agents lead by Ewen Montagu as they attempt to carry out the plan. As emotions and tempers run high and the ever-expanding list of problems seems to blockade their way, trust and treachery are challenged.
A fantastic cast of five give a masterclass in multi-roling, snapping in and out of character with the blink of an eye. The talent of the cast is undeniable with excellent singing voices and sharp comic timing. Particularly noticeably amongst them was Jak Malone who principally played middle aged assistant, Hester. As Hester, he leant his counter tenor vocals to a heartbreaking love letter to her former life in an emotional culmination to Act I.
The music, written by three cast members David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson and Zoe Roberts with musical director Felix Hagan, was an eclectic mix of styles, skillfully woven together. Inspiration and musical references were made to several other musicals including John Bevan’s fast paced Hamilton-esque songs and the girl power number reminiscent in style of Six. Both the dialogue and the songs put a modern and edgy spin on could-be stuffy subject. It’s references to modern politics makes the retelling of the story relevant to today and easily accessible to all.
The show excels throughout keeping the tension high from the patriotic parody of an opening number, right through to the glittering finale. A possibly monotonous subject brought to life with a fun, punchy and totally bonkers musical.