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BIG BROTHER BLITZKRIEG – King’s Head Theatre, London.

big-brother-blitzkrieg-c-jack-fisher-7Big Brother Blitzkrieg kicks off with a dejected Hitler (Stephen Chance) consulting a university rejection letter. Despondent and devastated, he attempts suicide. He fails. When he awakes from a state of unconsciousness, he finds himself in the midst of Channel 5’s Big Brother house, surrounded by a stereotypically diverse assortment of personality types.

The other housemates have no idea who this ‘intense’ man is. Out of place and out of time, is it possible that this stern moustachioed and brutal man could win over hearts, minds and conquer the big brother house? Hew Rouse-Eyre and Max Elton’s intriguingly titled, and even more surrealistically pitched work posits all this and more.

Re-jigged from the version that played at Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, it stands as a play that rails against the celebrity worship of the modern era. It also questions the power of projection; the frightening potential for demagogues in the modern age; and the pliant, fortuitous tool that is ‘charisma’, especially when paired with unwavering, unflinching and uncompromising ideals.

A spoof with a punch, this is a dose of hyper-surreal comedy that offers a biting satirical notion behind its ludicrous premise. The performances are pitched with enough excessive bravado and chutzpah to engage with chuckles – Stephen Chance, in particular, is wonderful in the role of Hitler. Despite being a mere 75 minutes in length, however, there is a feeling of a script running out of steam for the final third, which is saved at the last gasp by a thought-provoking coda.

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Reviewed 15/01/16

By Greg Wetherall

14th – 30th January 2016
King’s Head Theatre, N1 1QN.

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