Review Round Up: Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre

We take a look at what is being said about the West End transfer of the musical….

(c)Mat Crockett

The Guardian: **** “The tight physical comedy of the fringe original has translated well to the big stage with the aid of incoming director Rob Hastie, and there has been panache and polish applied throughout, from Ben Stones’s new set to a literal “Glitzy Finale”. Only the strength of the performers’ voices is tested by the transfer, but at least they now have the benefit of microphones.”

Evening Standard: **** “Mincemeat the musical has wit, charm, a subversive attitude to gender, a surprising amount of pathos, and a Eurobeat number for a Nazi boyband (yes, really). It’s also packed with deliberate anachronisms, outrageous overacting and sheepishly knowing in-jokes. It’s an embodiment of the eccentric British exceptionalism it both celebrates and mocks.”

The Telegraph: **** “Centring on one of the Allies’ most startling counter-intelligence ruses of the entire Second World War, this musical is a delight.”

Time Out: **** “The songs are funny, detailed and entertainingly eclectic – they lean towards the vaudevillian, though there’s a modern, ‘Hamilton’-ish punch to the rhymes. They’re laser-focussed on getting us to laugh: there’s little of the saccharine baggage of the average musical, no romance, no learning life lessons, no big introspective moments. “

Theatre Weekly: “Directed by Robert Hastie, Operation Mincemeat leans into the absurdity, taking every aspect of the mission and injecting it with copious amounts laugh out loud hilarity.  One scene sees a Spanish based spy try not to recover a briefcase; it’s choregraphed beautifully with a slick routine that could have come straight from the Morecombe and Wise show.”

iNews: **** “Anyone with even the slightest interest in homegrown success stories should wish Operation Mincemeat the very best of British”

Everything Theatre: ***** “This is one of those rare gems – a truly fantastic British musical that is sure to stand the test of time.”

The Arts Desk: ***** “Go and see the show at the intimate Fortune before it inevitably moves on to bigger spaces. It’s guaranteed to give your ability to grin and giggle a strenuous, much needed workout.”

Mind the Blog: ***** “For anyone else who has been following the show’s progress from either New Diorama, Southwark Playhouse or Riverside Studios – you will not believe your eyes when you see Ben Stones’ set and costume design. It is West End in scale & quality, but is still full of charm and packed with lots of fun little details; without giving any surprises away to anyone who has yet to see the show in its current venue, my personal favourite designs have to be Spilsbury’s attire (particularly during his first scene) and the various doors dotted around the stage – not to mention the entirety of the Glitzy Finale! Clearly, a painstaking amount of time, effort & money has gone into getting the aesthetic just right, and this really enhances the end product – hopefully it’s also indicative of a lengthy stint at the Fortune.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “This was my first encounter with a show that has been around now for four years, and it’s always a worry coming to something that has been so heavily hyped at a late stage. Well, it more than delivers, and stands as a shining example of homegrown talent – among many things it’s just so very, very British. It’s also a reminder of why these smaller West End theatres are so vitally important, and are wasted when clogged up by longrunners. But having said that, I don’t anticipate the Fortune being available again for some time to come.”

The Reviews Hub: ***** “Creating a show that is incredibly clever, hysterically well written, full of catchy musical numbers, choreographed to perfection and flawlessly performed, is a near impossible to pull off mission not unlike the original Operation Mincemeat itself. SpitLip are creative geniuses – their historically hilarious show will undoubtedly have a long, successful future ahead of it, some musicals are born to follow, this one is definitely born to lead.”

British ***** “Excellently directed by Robert Hastie, fresh from his triumphant Standing At The Sky’s Edge, the musical works so well because it keeps in mind the real “Bill”, and the lives lost in the conflict. From the sheer, soaring delights of the Act Two opener, when Nazis rock the stage, (“Seriously?” asks Bevan of the audience, “Who’s side are you on?”) and a Beyonce-influenced All The Ladies, there are beautiful, poignant moments.”

Broadway World: ***** “If you see one musical this year, make that Operation Mincemeat, the unlikely diamond of the West End. It has everything: an enthralling plot inhabited by surprising characters, a game of egos and justice, a ruse in the ruse, and a cast who deserve to be showered in awards. Ultimately, it’s a profound reflection on the roles we play in life, all laced with pure humour and a crystal-clear vision. “Some are born to follow”, but SpitLip are born to lead.”

The Stage: ****** “Superb musical about an outlandish chapter in British history hits the West End, and is better than ever.”

West End Best Friend: ***** “With all this praise being shared for Operation Mincemeat, we think we ought to acknowledge that this show opening on the West End is more than the sum of its parts; it’s a huge win for Fringe Theatre everywhere, proving that the weird shows can make it into the mainstream if they’re just given the chance. The Fortune Theatre is now serving as a bright yellow beacon of hope to any theatre company willing to risk it all on an idea as preposterous as a stolen corpse – you never know, you just might end up winning a war.”

London ***** “But the way it captures our peculiarly British love of silly (but much-needed) irreverence feels timeless — as does the show’s message that it matters who, or what, we fight for. The inspiring Operation Mincemeat will surely make us all want to fight to nurture more original musicals like this one.”

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