• Amy Toledano

Our Man In Havana presented by Spies Like Us Theatre

What is it?

Our Man In Havana is a piece of ensemble theatre by the company Spies Like Us. They use physical theatre to tell a Cold War story about a vacuum salesman in Havana who resorts to faking military reports, to save his business.

What is it about?

The hilarious and unlikely rise of a man to the top of the Secret Services, because he wants to save his livelihood and support his demanding daughter who has an indulgent lifestyle. What ensues is a lot of dancing and a load more silliness.

How did it make you feel?

First off, the synchronised movements of the actors give off the impression of an incredibly slick show. The energy maintained by all members of the cast throughout keeps the audience engaged. The trials and tribulations of James Wormold (Alex Holley), the silly accents and comedic facial expressions of Dr Hasselbacher and Captain Segura (Tullio Campanale) add life to the show. The seamless switching between the clipped upper-class English accent (expertly perfected in particular by Phoebe Campbell as Beatrice) and the Cuban accent (more of an imperfect mock Spanish accent- I did study Spanish at University though) add to the joy of the experience.

The played down costumes - the same for every character (a white shirt and beige trousers)- put the focus on the movement and the drama. The strength of the cast will amaze you as they lift eachother up and maintain incredibly complex routines. After all, the show is not about what they’re wearing or the set, it’s about the cast’s use of their bodies to tell an engaging story. The decision by Ollie Norton Smith (Director) to keep the focus on the stylish and energetic choreography (Zak Nemorin) pays off. Equally the sound (Oscar Maguire) adds to and enhances the drama of the routines, rather than overpowering them.

The show probably isn’t something that you would go to if you are looking for a political analysis of Cuban history. However, for a fun, enjoyable. and unforgettable hour it’s certainly one to watch.

Anything Else?

Spies Like Us have another show coming up called Speed Dial, it will be playing at the Forge at the Vaults Festival on the 6th and 7th March. If this show is anything to go by, it will be great!

Scarlett x

Our Man In Havana is playing in the Forge, VAULT Festival, until the 5th March 2020.

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