Last Updated on 18th August 2023
Paul T Davies reviews Ay Up Hitler at Space at Surgeon’s Hall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Ay Up Hitler
Space at Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh Fringe
A conflicting experience this. Hitler and the main inner circle have escaped the Berlin Bunker and relocated to Yorkshire, where they try to fit in with the locals. They’ve also discovered the secret of eternal youth and must live forever. This outrageous concept satirises and warns of the rise of Nazism and Nationlism that we see today, and for that it hits it targets. But, once the concept is established, it feels like a revue sketch stretched far too long over its running time. The show is NOT pro-Nazi, but it contains some jokes that even Frankie Boyle wouldn’t go near. But if you’re not offended by Nazism you need to check your moral compass!
This is to take nothing away from the skilled cast. Playwright David McCullouch also appears as Goering, Hannah Cait-Harrison particularly strong as Trump, Marcus Churchill a cheerleading Goebbels and Michael Goodwin Grist camps it up as Himmler. Peter McCrohon is a dangerously likeable Hitler but skillfully lets the psychopath out.
But it drags horribly in the middle. There’s a 1970s Christmas scene that feels unnecessary, and the constant encouragement to get the audience to chant Ay Up Hitler quickly loses its appeal. When Johnson and Trump turn up, things pick up, but even here it feels overplayed.
The satire is sharp in places and the saving grace is the final, chilling image. Although not my humour, it gave me much to consider but could have benefitted from a tighter running time.