‘The Comedy About A Bank Robbery’ is a slapstick, pun-tastic, and thrillingly adventurous delight.
Having enjoyed a successful run in the West End, Mischief Theatre (the same group which brought you ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’), have created a production that is as refreshing as it is conventional; as campy as it is absurd; and as bold as it is charming.
Breaking out of prison has never been so easy – at least it was for Mitch Ruscitti (Liam Jeavons).
When he persuades prison guard and “professional amateur actor”, Neil Cooper (David Coomber), to help him bust out of jail, the pair join up with the divine Caprice (Julia Firth) and devise a plan to steal a jewel worth half a million dollars. With an ensemble of eccentric characters standing behind you, what could go wrong? Well, unfortunately for Mitch, there’s an equally bizarre company of characters standing in his way.
There’s the loveable pick-pocketer, Sam (Sean Carey), who with utter charisma and charm, delivers a stand-out performance; the woefully unfortunate Warren Slax (Jon Trenchard); and the frightfully stern Robin Freeboys (Damien Lynch), whose name is used as a go-to punchline, whenever some of the material is lacking in a bit of humor.
Other standout performances include the marvelous Ashley Tucker, who showcased incredible vocal skills and a hilarious portrayal of Sam’s overbearing mother, Ruth.
For a show where much of the dialogue is written in a very ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ way, it never feels cheap or like something audiences have seen before. At every point, spectator felt engaged, and the material never felt too dated, despite reveling in a very traditional format for comedy.
While we must pay credit to the performances of the actors, the one thing that truly makes the show shine is the impeccable stage direction and set design.
Originally directed by Mark Bell, with Kirsty Patrick Ward taking over the role during the tour, the Gaiety’s stage is truly reinvigorated.
With trippy illusions, underwater sequences, and seamless scene transitions, ‘The Comedy About a Bank Robbery’ manages to shine a new light onto what can be achieved on stage.
Review by Kevin Worrall