Putting On The Blitz feels like a show from another era, and not just because its cast of characters are mainly long dead dictators-cum-crooners. For one, it feels cheekily liberated from the bounds of good taste. It also extracts its laughs in old school ways, employing all the methods the music hall boys and TV gameshow hosts did to reel in its audience. It isn’t afraid to drop in a dad gag or groansome pun if it’s tasteless and funny, which it frequently is.
Frank Sanazi, our host for the evening, is a 50/50 hybrid of Ol’ Blue Eyes and Ol’ Fuhrer Face, and has something of the charisma of both. One second he’ll be charming us with some very passable crooning, then there’ll be a barrage of “Jawohl!”s and we’ll be staring into the mad eyes and postage stamp facial fuzz of history’s least loved. He’s a gift of a comedy character, being able to call on the traits and habits of both his progenitors in pursuit of laughs.
For instance, he calls his band of crooning buddies the Iraq Pack, featuring Saddami Davis Junior and Dean Stalin (Osama Bin Crosby can’t be with us tonight). He can also somehow just get away with telling us about his recent tour of Israel, a gig at which he was supported by Reich Said Fred. That’s about the level of it. Gauge for yourself how much of it you could take.
The audience tonight are happy to take their fill. On-stage chat with the vodka-swigging Dean Stalin brings hearty laughs, the questionable jokes clashing ridiculously with the matey 60s TV special style. The parody songs themselves wouldn’t live on their lyrical humour – some lines are a little weakly twisted to fit – but within context they make the night swing. We get Strangers On My Flight, a song about Sanazi’s paranoia flying with a gentleman in a turban and Bad, Bad Donald Trump to the tune of Leroy Brown. A topical, but incongruous, recent addition to the crew is Spliff Richard, the reggae bachelor boy who sails close to the wind with songs about Cliff’s recent police troubles.
There’s a couple of moments when the off-colour humour doesn’t fully pay its way. A gag about Bill Cosby drops like a doodlebug. In the main, though, the show more or less gets away with whatever it tries. There’s a sort of “don’t mention the Jews” running gag, because even Sanazi feels shame about some parts of his history.