Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre – Reviews ★★★★

Reviews are coming in for the West End transfer of Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre in London.

The hit musical comedy is playing at the Fortune Theatre until 19 August 2023.

The show stars David CummingClaire-Marie HallNatasha HodgsonJak Malone and Zöe Roberts, plus Seán Carey, Geri Allan, Christian Andrews and Holly Sumpton.

Billed as Singin’ in the Rain meets Strangers on a Train, and Noel Coward meets Noel Fielding, Operation Mincemeat is a fast-paced, hilarious and totally unbelievable true story about the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler?

Operation Mincemeat – Photo by Matt Crocket

The show has a Book, Music & Lyrics by David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson & Zoë Roberts; and a creative team that includes Director Robert Hastie, Choreographer Jenny Arnold, Set & Costume Designer Ben Stones, Lighting Designer Mark Henderson, Sound Designer Mike Walker, Orchestration & Vocal Arrangement Steve Sidwell, Casting Director Pearson Casting CDG, Musical Director & Piano Joe Bunker, Deputy MD & Keyboard Ben Cox, Bass Guitar & Bass Synth Rachel Espeute, Drums & Percussion Lewis Jenkins, Associate Director Georgie Staight, Associate Choreographer Paul Isaiah Isles, with Original Direction by David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson & Zoë Roberts, and Original Orchestration by Felix Hagan.

Operation Mincemeat has enjoyed great reviews for its various London seasons – including the New Diorama Theatre in 2019, the Southwark Playhouse in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and the Riverside Studios in 2022 – so will the London theatre critics love it all over again?

Check out reviews from The Evening Standard, The Stage and more.

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Operation Mincemeat reviews

The Evening Standard

"This gung-ho musical could be just what the West End needs"

"Mincemeat the musical has wit, charm and a Eurobeat number for a Nazi boyband"

"On paper, SpitLip Theatre’s delicious knockabout musical about a plot to fox Hitler shouldn’t work. Neither should the operation it was based on... Now an exuberant, energetic, incurably daft show about it is in the West End, after a five-year journey through fringe and regional theatres that has become part of the story."

"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 script is nimble; the songs riff through period genres from Noel Coward numbers to stirring sea shanties; the rhymes are inspired."

Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
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i News

"A joyously homegrown new comedy musical"

"The show is witty, mocking, camp and joyous, not to mention immensely tuneful"

"It’s a cause for great celebration when such a joyously homegrown, idiosyncratically British new comedy musical lands in the West End."

"It’s at the Fortune Theatre, which is about as far from glittering as the West End can get... To say that it does not come up to 21st century theatregoing standards would be an understatement; if I had joined the post-show loo queue, I would probably still be standing in it now. Yet this matters (comparatively) little when the work itself is such a treat."

"The show is witty, mocking, camp and joyous, not to mention immensely tuneful – the songs are both clever and catchy. It pokes gently good-natured fun at a panoply of British wartime tropes, not least the overwhelmingly patriarchal structure of it all."

Fiona Mountford, i News
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The Stage

"Brilliant thriller, brilliant comedy, brilliant musical"

"SpitLip’s superb musical about an outlandish chapter in British history hits the West End, and is better than ever"

"... SpitLip’s ridiculously funny, smart, inventive and very daft musical."

"Director Robert Hastie, recently brought on board, brings a huge amount to the production without sacrificing its winning simplicity. The performers zip between characters, Ben Stones’ design a green graph-paper backdrop, while a blackboard, desk and a couple of chairs whip on and off. That allows for tight choreography from Jenny Arnold, as well as fabulous slapstick scenes involving crossed telephone wires, quick changes, kick lines and much more."

"It is that balance of comedy and heart that is this show’s great strength, and with a couple of new songs and a stronger book, it is better than ever. A brilliant spy thriller, a brilliant comedy, and a brilliant musical all rolled into one, it is exhilarating to see it hit the West End."

Tim Bano, The Stage
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"The glorious spoof musical about an eccentric real-life WWII finally operation makes it to the West End"

"... though it’s been redirected for the West End by Robert Hastie, ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is at heart the same show it always was. There are no added backing dancers or bombastic reorchestrations. It’s slicker and bigger in its way, but still feels endearingly shambolic where it counts."

"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."

"Really, it’s a delight from start to finish. Generally it avoids taking the war too seriously, and that’s fine, although there are some moments where the essential underlying frothiness feels like it's holding the show back a bit."

"I’ll be intrigued to see how it holds up when the cast who created it moves on – their chemistry really is off the chart – but for now I think it’s safe to say that the operation has been a total success."

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut
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The Times

"A gloriously inventive wartime romp"

"Sometimes the jokes hit you so quickly that you barely have time to laugh before the next one comes sweeping along. This gloriously inventive musical, based on a celebrated Second World War intelligence operation, is the nearest thing to those hyperactive Tex Avery cartoons that kept cinema audiences entertained during the war years."

"The build-up is brilliantly evoked by a multitasking, gender-switching cast of five — including Cumming, Hodgson and Roberts — who hurtle around Ben Stones’s map room set under the direction of Robert Hastie and the choreographer Jenny Arnold. Cumming is flawless as the shy, gawky boffin Charles Cholmondeley, Hodgson grabs even more laughs as the unscrupulous Ewen Montagu, while Roberts sparkles as the department boss Johnny Bevan and a yet-to-be famous Ian Fleming, whose callow ideas for a spy novel are the butt of everyone’s jokes."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Guardian

"Irrepressible wartime musical is a West End triumph"

"With gag-packed songs and gender-swapped roles, this fringe show about a secret service plot is a joyful success on the big stage"

"A West End run is the ultimate proof of concept for this irrepressible musical comedy, and the ingenious ensemble who created and perform it."

"This is a show that can movingly celebrate the unsung women of the secretarial pool while also allowing them to express their frustrations in a perfectly choreographed Beyoncé pastiche. There’s pathos, too, among the gag-packed songs, including those dignifying the dead man whose body was treated so cavalierly."

"Some moments from the fringe show, such as the barnstorming dance number that opens the second half, are simply unimprovable, and the MVP of the five-strong cast remains Jak Malone, who brings effortless distinction to his vastly different roles..."

Emma John, The Guardian
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The Telegraph

"A Pythonesque wartime romp that doesn’t short-change the intellect"

"Centring on one of the Allies' most startling counter-intelligence ruses of the entire Second World War, this musical is a delight"

"I’d wager, all the same, that this inventive gem of a night is in with a very good fighting chance of resounding victory. True, it’s not without its flaws."

"What the show has in winning spades, though, is a Pythonesque delight in irreverence that doesn’t short-change the intellect, delineating the journeys each character goes on, the social transformation the war engendered, and the pathos attending the macabre plot. Importantly too, no jot of jadedness has settled upon the tireless, talented, often gender-flipping cast of five."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
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📷 Main photo: Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre. Photo by Matt Crockett

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