Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward
Reviewer: Pete Benson
It seems like Mischief Theatre can do no wrong and with this current tour of The Comedy About A Bank Robbery that is not going to change anytime soon. If you saw The Play That Goes Wrong and were wondering if the latest show will just be more of the same or maybe not as funny then fear not: it mines a whole new concept while maintaining the essential spirit of Mischief Theatre’s work – and proves to be just as funny.
The bank heist plot is full of all the clichés of the genre: the prison break, the building of the gang, the plan, betrayal and so on, but the plot is really only here to serve the humour. The show is jam-packed with comedy set-pieces some of them stunning in their execution. At times, imaginative use of technology and engineering is used to amaze the audience and at others, the sheer skill of this most excellent ensemble cast along with some atmospheric lighting proves just as effective.
The play rattles along, almost without pause for breath at times. The wordplay is worthy of the Marx Brothers and the writers test repetition and silliness to their limits without ever overstepping. They draw on many tried and tested theatre and film styles and techniques, reimagining and blending them for today’s audiences. At its heart, it is like good old-fashioned farce on steroids with mistaken identity, loss of trousers and at least 7 doors or equivalent in one scene alone – but it is also much, much more than that. The physical action relies on clowning tradition, mime skills, slapstick and good old vaudeville routines but always with new imaginative twists.
This is a very slick show where timing is of the essence and it is, for the most part, perfectly executed by the ensemble. Occasionally, despite David Farley’s brilliantly clever set, scene changes are not quite as slick as they could be but touring this kind of technology is a big ask and this is a small gripe.
The second act builds to a crescendo of heart-stopping physical brilliance, the details of which shall remain a secret in this review. Despite these show-stopping peaks, the energy is maintained right up to the last joke.
This is an evening of pure fun. Just relax and be taken on a rollercoaster ride of laughter. If a joke doesn’t suit, don’t worry there are 3 more on its heels.
Runs Until 18 March 2019 | Image: Contributed