Pros: An excellent concept with a lively cast and truly memorable tagline.
Cons: A lack of humour and insight reduces the play to a drama workshop.
So the premise is tantalising: Adolph Hitler, after a botched suicide attempt, wakes up in the Big Brother House. He finds himself surrounded by some of the most loathsome individuals he’s ever met, as he struggles to come to terms with the world of reality television. Over the course of a seventy five minute play, Hitler locks horns with a host of familiar reality TV characters: Lucy, superior, sneering PR girl; Charlie, belligerent feminist; Felix, ebullient gay; M-Cat, gormless, likable rapper; and finally, Rachel, awfully sincere earth mother with a plan.
So, all the ingredients were present for a great ‘what if’… Hitler had been born a hundred years later, how would he have coped with the immediacy of social media? Could he cast the same evil spell in a time when people can access information at the click of a button? Well, that was my take on the set-up, but unfortunately it never really got off the starting blocks.
If anything, the story raced to a fairly obvious conclusion. Hitler had a dark charisma that could seduce and mesmerise, whatever era we choose to put him in. Although billed as a comedy, laughs were desperately hard to find; aside from “could Adolf please come to the diary room” nothing came close. Audience laughter seemed polite and controlled rather than raucous and spontaneous.
I could faintly hear a smart jazz band striking up in The King’s Head bar and felt it sounded a stronger proposition for entertainment. Strangely, my mind began to wander; I began to write an alternative storyline. Why not have Hitler waking up in the Big Brother House with Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and Mussolini as housemates? Then Hitler would have to share the house with his adversaries!?
Musing aside, I’ve no doubt Big Brother Blitzkrieg is a brilliant idea, but the script and plot aren’t far enough developed to be interesting or challenging. Nevertheless the cast do a sterling job with a calm air of confidence. Stephen Chance as Hitler and Hannah Douglas as Charlie are the real standouts in a production that missed the opportunity to turn a great idea into a cult classic.
Writers: Hew Rous Eyre and Max Elton
Directors: Hew Rous Eyre and Max Elton
Producer: Rosie Whisenant
Booking Until: 30 January 2016
Box Office: 0207 226 8561
Booking Link: kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873542325/events