REVIEW: Big Brother Blitzkrieg (King’s Head Theatre)

Germany, 1908. A naïve young man receives a letter rejecting his application to study life drawing – again. Distraught, he reaches for his revolver and places it to his head…and so begins a bizarre piece of theatre following Adolf Hitler’s rise from outsider to charismatic demagogue.

The Adolf in Big Brother Blitzkrieg wakes up in the 21st century after his botched suicide attempt, confused, disoriented and cooped up in the Big Brother House with people he can’t stand. Slowly he finds his feet and begins to pick his battles, persuading his fellow housemates to unite against their common enemies. Recovering from his shaky start, Hitler turns out to be extremely popular with the voting public.

Exploring how modern Britain would receive a politician such as Adolf Hitler is a fascinating premise for a play and it’s an idea which many a writer has toyed with over the years. We’re intrigued by how he brought an entire nation round to his way of thinking. We couldn’t possibly be duped in the same way…could we?

Big Brother Blitzkrieg is an interesting, if slightly uncomfortable watch. The ensemble cast put on a gleeful show of hamming up some Great British stereotypes. Jenny Johns is particularly good as Lucy, a woman hungry for power who has given birth just days before entering the house.

Stephen Chance is a convincing Adolf Hitler, showing glimmers of the calculated politician that the real man will become. However, if the character had been written with more depth and substance then it might have lifted Big Brother Blitzkrieg from comedic surrealism to something more thought-provoking and sinister.

Reviewed by Annabel Mellor
Photo: Jack Fisher

Big Brother Blitzkrieg is playing at the King’s Head Theatre until 30 January 2016