Theatre Review - Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat
is another hit show hatched and developed at the New Diorama Theatre. Following sold out runs there, at Southwark Playhouse and a season at Riverside Studios, SpitLip’s sensational musical arrives in the West End at Covent Garden’s Fortune Theatre.

The main highlights of this inventive show, written and composed by David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoë Roberts, are the exuberant five-strong cast, their passion for slapstick and the songs.

Set in 1943, it’s based on a real life World War II secret operation. Charles Cholmondeley (Cumming), comes up with a cunning plan to fool the Germans into believing that the allies are not about to invade Sicily. Bombastic Ewan Montague (a deep-voiced Hodgson) takes the lead and much of the credit.

The agents create a fictitious officer with the help of two secretaries (Claire Marie Hall and Jak Malone), an array of forged documents and fake war plans. A British submarine dumps the dead body of a homeless man into the sea, with “top secret” documents in his pocket, to be washed ashore in Spain.  

Madcap antics and jokes come thick and fast and the cast’s energy is infectious. The show’s mockery of Old Etonians revelling in their entitlement, without a care for morality (encapsulated in the opening number ‘Born to Lead’), is particularly resonant. The production also name and pay tribute to the labourer, Glyndwr Michael, whose corpse was used by MI5.

The gender swapping roles are gleefully executed and Malone gives a delightful turn as the secretary Hester Leggett, raising the roof with the mournful ballad ‘Dear Bill’, while Roberts is a memorable Ian Fleming.

Robert Hastie sets a cracking pace and Jenny Arnold’s choreography positively fizzes. It’s no wonder Operation Mincemeat has a cult following and audiences return again and again. This is a real treat.

 To August 19

Originally published by Westminster Extra