Comedian Spike Milligan’s famous Second World War memoirs Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall will hit the stage this summer. The adaptation has its world premiere at Bristol Old Vic, where it runs from 9 to 18 July 2009 (previews from 4 July) and will be the first main-house production since the theatre’s closure in August 2007 (See News, 4 Jun 2007), and will then transfer to London’s Hampstead Theatre for four weeks from 24 July, before embarking on a regional tour.

The project fulfils a lifelong ambition for director Tim Carroll, who has adapted Milligan’s 1971 book with Ben Power. Using Milligan’s own words and a cast of actor-musicians, the story is told through a fusion of comedy, jazz, song and dance.

An epic Everyman’s odyssey through World War Two, with a cast of extraordinary characters, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall charts Gunner Milligan’s progress from joining the Royal Artillery through the North African and Italian campaigns. Milligan and his ad hoc jazz quartet – complete with their famed comedy routines – are cast adrift on the tide of historic events.

Carroll directs a cast of Matt Devereaux, William Findley, Dominic Gerrard, Sholto Morgan and David Morley Hale. The production is designed by Laura Hopkins, with lighting by James Farncombe, sound by John Leonard, choreography by Sian Williams and musical arrangement and supervision by Oliver Jackson.

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall is co-produced by Bristol Old Vic and Greg Ripley-Duggan. Following Hampstead Theatre, where it runs from 23 July to 22 August 2009, the production tours through to 28 November to Oxford, Plymouth, Malvern, Lincoln, Edinburgh, Eastbourne, Chichester, Watford, Liverpool and Nottingham, with further dates to be announced.

- by Terri Paddock