Operation Mincemeat: miraculous musical that’s ‘extraordinary in every way’

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All they needed was a dead body they could dress up as a pilot with a briefcase of fake documents attached to its wrist to be found by the enemy. In other words, a Trojan Corpse.

Comedy troupe Split Lip’s five man army of performers ‑ three women and two blokes, in fact ‑ deliver a miraculous musical that tells the entire story in a kind of accelerated farce that is part Mel Brooks, part SIX, part Hamilton with a side order of One Man,Two Guvnors. 

The quick change antics are perfectly timed as the hardworking gender-blind cast morph from Men from the Ministry to sailors to typists-with-ambition to spies and song-and-dance Nazis ‑ the latter in a number that equals Springtime for Hitler in the hilarious-bad-taste stakes. 

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The manic, cartoonish style is leavened by moments of surprising poignancy such as the love letter song Dear Bill delivered by loyal spinster secretary Hester (Jak Malone, who also plays a Cabaret-style pathologist who is half Joel Grey/half Liberace) with such emotional delicacy it silences the entire audience for several minutes. 

The articulate lyrics fizz and bubble with wit, the small band switches from Variety Hall knees-ups to rap with ease and the lighting is exemplary. 

The set consists of little more than five telephones on pedestals. In a show that is brimming with confidence, nothing else is needed. Extraordinary in every way.

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Operation Mincemeat is at the Southwark Playhouse until September 18

TICKETS: 020 7407 0234 or at southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

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