Our Man in Havana, VAULT Festival

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By Zahid Fayyaz

Spies Like Us Theatre have returned for one week with their award-winning show from 2017’s Edinburgh Fringe. A five-person adaptation of the Graham Greene satirical novel, this one-hour show follows the story of a local vacuum cleaner salesman pushed into working as a spy for MI6 in Cuba, Havana.

However, his lack of knowledge on how exactly to be a successful spy results in him making up local informants and faking launch sites for Soviet missiles. Things then turn deadly when fiction and reality begin to merge, and the lies become too hard to juggle when dangerous elements take them seriously.

The show contains high energy, very funny performances, with the actors playing a multitude of different characters and even using their bodies as props and scenery  to enhance the production and add some colour to the show. There was an element of improv use, and mambo-ing in between the scene changes to add even more energy to the constant movement throughout. The screwball athleticism certainly helps with the occasional lapse in the script’s humour, but for a young company, this is an accomplished and highly entertaining production. I’m not sure when or if it will be back, but this is certainly a show worth watching should it return to London or go on tour.

Our Man in Havana runs through 5 March.

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