“No”, you can almost hear the show’s producer mutter through gritted teeth, “not the film starring Colin Firth”.
And whilst that particular piece of synchronicity happened to be unfortunate – same title, same plot, verrrry similar release dates – in every other respect, this musical’s the superior slice of entertainment.
And now, after a run across several of London’s fringe theatres, it’s finally getting its due with a transfer to the West End next year.
A joyously silly, whip-smart production from writer-performers SpitLip, Operation Mincemeat tells the ludicrous-but-true WWII story of the MI5 attempt to confuse the Germans by planting fake military information on a real corpse. Lightning-paced, the show punches well above its weight, with the cast of five each playing multiple roles – an effect that the Daily Mirror described as “part Mel Brooks, part SIX, part Hamilton with a side order of One Man, Two Guvnors.” There’s slapstick, word-play, a sinister pathologist who’s a little too familiar with the corpses in his care, and – spectacularly, in a moment you didn’t know you needed – a Nazi boyband.
It’s funny, it’s frothy – and then, all of a sudden, it turns out to be deeply moving, too. Whilst ‘a man playing a middle-aged woman reciting a love letter’ might not sound compelling, one male agent’s transformation – without so much as a costume change – into dowdy MI5 secretary Hester remembering her correspondence with an old flame who went off to fight in the first Great War, is heart-stoppingly poignant and extraordinarily moving.
The show started its life at the New Diorama, then moved to the Southwark Playhouse for multiple sold-out runs. It then transferred to Riverside Studios where it continued to gather steam and critical acclaim across the board, attracting ★★★★★ reviews in the Financial Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Sunday Express… so next year you’ll see it in the Fortune Theatre, right in the heart of Covent Garden.
Your mission: secure tickets now before they become properly expensive, and acquiring them becomes a military operation in its own right…
NOTE: Operation Mincemeat is opening at the Fortune Theatre on March 29th, 2023. You can find out more, and get tickets right here.
Riverside Studios | 101 Queen Caroline St, W6 9BN
Want dinner before or after the show? Here are the best restaurants in West London…
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