ADOLPH HITLER – MY PART IN HIS DOWNFALL
Based on the writing of Spike Milligan, Adapted by Ben Power and Tim Carroll
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval
Review 9 March 2010, Birmingham Rep Theatre: Rod Dungate
Energetic, entertaining and heart-warming.
This celebration of Spike Milligan is as affectionate as it is energetic. The five multi-talented performers create a kind of mad cabaret that is moving in its direct honesty. And perhaps more, watching it, you are acutely aware that Milligan’s helter-skelter humour was not brought into being without pain. Humour is, of necessity, of the head, but this performance tugs strongly at the heart too.
Spike Milligan’s humour is (was?) unpredictable and frequently absurd. The team attempt to reproduce this in theatrical terms. The over-arching form of a forces’ variety show works well and allows free flow for the show’s ramshackle architecture. There is a pleasant roughness around the edges, joins do not quite meet . . . all this is, no doubt, carefully choreographed. It works very well, though from time to time, there is definitely a feeling that the humour is more effective on the page.
But never mind; the performance is infectious. All the more so because of the musical talents of the company who play a variety of instruments with great skill. (We mustn’t forget Spike was a talented jazz trumpeter.)
There are some very funny sketches – in particular one about firing a gun – and a wonderful musical section featuring Tommy Trinder.
The show suffered somewhat from a mismatch between the nature of the show and the size of the Rep’s main house. But that was more than made up for by the warmth of the performing team; the whole was wittily and sensitively orchestrated by director, Tim Carroll. It’s a great acting team – the icing being Sholto Morgan’s splendid Spike.
Spike: Sholto Morris
Edgington: Dominic Gerrard
Goldsnith: William Findley
Kidgell: David Morley Hale
MC: Mathew: Davereaux
Director: Tim Carroll
Designer: Laura Hopkins
Lighting Designer: James Farncombe
Sound Designer: John Leonard
Choreographer: Sian Williams
Music Supervisor: Oliver Jackson