Brighton Fringe Review – Frank Sanazi: Stuck In the Bunker With You****

Frank Sanazi ‘Stuck in the Bunker with you’ By Peter Perke Productions. Broadway Lounge, 16 May

A true original this, as the name suggests Frank Sanazi is an unnerving comedic mix of the singing legend Frank Sinatra and the infamous dictator Adolf Hitler, poking fun at history’s most famous German dictator through a mixture of puns, slapstick and musical numbers as well as mocking recent dictatorships. I’ve been a longstanding fan (I confess) but have never seen this comedy sinning icon in the flesh.

Starting with a showing of that classic film ‘Springtime for Hitler’ in the bar downstairs, the scene was set for a bunker in Berlin in 1944. Diva Braun, Frank’s sidekick, festooned in shorts and suspenders, ably introduced the scenario before Frank Sanazi entered the stage with his ‘songs for swinging leaders’ and a rendition of the Stealers Wheels track ‘ Stuck in the Middle (Bunker) with You’ – the title of the show, crooning, ‘I’ve got a feeling that something’s far right.. with ‘Goebbels to the left of me, Goering to the right’. Wrong, but hilarious nonetheless.

This very witty and quite schizophrenic show switches seamlessly between an easy listening American accent and a Teutonic bent throughout the show. Frank reworks The Rat Packs classics with his own extreme renditions, that he calls “Uneasy listening”. Songs abounded, all with a World War II theme ‘When you’re Stalin, the whole world smiles with you’ for example. Introducing fellow club members Dino Stalin, Sadami Davis Junior and Obama Bing Crosby, numbers included such hits as “Third Reich”, “Strangers on my Flight” and “Zieg Heil with Me”.

The second half of the show fell a little flatter with the arrival of Dino Stalin, performing a song that didn’t feel necessary to the overall format. Frank and Diva have enough stage presence to not require further performers, but this was a little niggle in an overall cracking show. The wit and wordplay continued ‘I was getting thrown out of PC world’, and the song ‘Hitler with your rhythm stick’, and my personal favourite to the tune of the Bowie track ‘Heroes’ , ‘We could be Fuhrers’. With some amusing audience participation, great interplay between the two main characters, plus a little ukelele number, I laughed out loud a lot at this show.

Patter, wisecracks and wordplay along with his faithful partner Diva Braun, Frank shares with you his last few hours in the bunker. This show has toured and will be at Edinburgh so there’s further chances to catch this comedy maverick. Recommended!

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