Saturday, 26 September 2009

Spike Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall (Cambridge Arts Theatre)

Gone a bit play-mad lately, and it promises to continue when I go to America on tuesday, I've got tickets for three plays and one opera and no doubt I'll get carried away and review the Empire State Building or something... I didn't go up it last time, went up the Rockefeller and got a nice view of the ESB, Kim's apartment apparently looks out onto the ESB, man, I'm excited.
Anyway, Andy and I went to see this nice adaptation of Spike's book the other night, the theatre was pretty empty (shame, people of Cambirdge suck) so half way through we managed to sneak closer than or ten quid tickets allowed and we got a great view.
It's a variety show under the guise of a WW2 variety show, chapters and stories from Spike's memoir about his time in the army are acted out by the five members of the cast and in between- and sometimes during- there are some brilliant jazz numbers as each of the cast plays numerous instruments and can all sing really REALLY well. (I am so turned on by talent.) Of course Spike Milligan was in a jazz band while he was in the army so I reckon it's pretty much an 100% accurate portrayal of the war in North Africa, right down to Hitler singing in his underpants.
There were lots of jokes about Anton Walbrook and the" bloody Warsaw Concerto!" which I was greatly amused by- I particularly liked when the pianist played the concerto and the Nazis and Tommys argued and pushed the piano away, neither wanting anything to do with the awful rot. The boy playing Spike was appropriately mad, the madness of war and the madness of Spike Milligan seemed to come naturally to him, all the cast was excellent.
It was a great play, funny and really cleverly staged, I still felt sad afterwards though, Spike's mental health issues are played out quite seriously and, you know- it's the war. I then dreamt that I was in a one-man show that I'd written about the Holocaust. It was not funny.

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