Big Brother Blitzkrieg*** (King’s Head Theatre)

Posted: January 16, 2016 in Theatre

Big Brother Blitzkrieg (c) Jack Fisher (6)This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub: http://www.thereviewshub.com

Had Adolph Hitler lived, he would now be 126 years old. This is one of several compelling reasons why the idea that he could be a contestant in Big Brother 2016 requires considerable suspension of disbelief. However, the proposition that none of his fellow housemates would have the faintest idea who he was, sadly, rings very true indeed. Written and directed by Hew Rous Eyre and Max Elton, Big Brother Blitzkrieg is, for the most part, a riotous spoof of reality television and it falters only when it tries to take itself too seriously. Often something like Big Brother that is already inherently ridiculous can prove to be beyond parody, but a steady flow of very funny jokes carries this show through 75 minutes, stretching out a basic idea that could have been more naturally suited to a 15 minute sketch. Hitler, played with fervour by Stephen Chance, lands in the House after his application to enter Art School is rejected. He finds himself among a typical selection of housemates, all striving to live up to what is expected of the stereotypes that they have been selected to represent. M-Cat (Kit Loyd) is a teenage rapper, Charlie (Hannah Douglas) is a feminist and Lucy (Jenny Johns) is a snooty Public Relations Consultant. The Führer slots neatly into the fascist regime of Big Brother (voiced by George Smith), although taking orders does not come easily to him. He kindly reassures the flamboyantly gay Felix (Neil Summerville) that the viewers will not find him boring, by telling him “you are the most entertaining sub-human that I have ever met”. However, his persecution of the hapless Rachel (Tracey Ann Wood), trying to manipulate her eviction and getting other housemates to ostracise her, bears even more sinister undertones. Rachel offends Hitler by being dull, ordinary and Jewish. Presumably the writers want to demonstrate how easily history can repeat itself, but history as serious as this is seriously unfunny and a sombre note is introduced, sitting very uncomfortably with the lightweight material that surrounds it. Otherwise, sharp writing and over-the-top performances make this spoof Big Brother, arguably, a lot more entertaining than the real thing. It should see out its scheduled run at the King’s Head without fear of eviction.

Performance date: 15 January 2015

Photo: Jack Fisher

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