ComedyDramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery – Leeds Grand

Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields

Tour Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward

Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood

Mischief Theatre brings The Comedy About A Bank Robbery on tour including a stop at the Leeds Grand Theatre.  Many will know the theatre company for producing the award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.  The comedy, written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Sheilds, first premiered at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End in 2016.

The comedy is set in Minneapolis, in the late 1950s, when a priceless diamond is entrusted to the vaults of Minneapolis City Bank.  An escaped convict, Mitch Ruscitti (Eddy Westbury), plans to steal the sought after diamond with the reluctant aid from his estranged girlfriend, Caprice Freeboys, (Julia Frith) and his two accomplices.  The Comedy About A Bank Robbery has a structured, but not rigid, script. However, it does have the explosive physical and slapstick comedy that Mischief Theatre is reputed for in their productions.

Minneapolis at the time, was the country’s crime capital and the city bank could not be any more crooked or corrupt, from the boss himself to the security guards.  The story unfolds as the gang farcically and chaotically attempt to plan their heist; this, of course, is followed by hilarious consequences and their unawareness and naivety of others who turn out that they are just out for themselves.  Thrown in are the “love triangles” and romantic rivalry which adds to the story’s twist.

The cast entertains the audience well, and an evening of innuendoes, misunderstood connotations and farce guarantees non-stop laughter from beginning to end.  Each member of the cast energetically puts in a stellar performance particularly from Frith (Caprice Freeboys), Dave Hearn (Sam Monaghan), Killian Macardle (Officer Randal Shuck) and Ashley Tucker (Ruth Monaghan).  One can’t help feeling for the lonely and “loyal” Warren Slax which is excellently portrayed by Jon Trenchard.

Credit must go to David Farley’s excellent and clever staging, especially the underground vaults scene, and works well with the plot’s scenes particularly with the physical comedic aspects and the co-ordinated stunts from the characters.  Farley’s sets are supported well by David Howe’s lighting.  Joey Hickman’s musical arrangement and Roberto Surace’s costumes set the tone and ambiance of the 1950s.

The direction from Kirsty Patrick Ward ensures The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is kept true to its title.  Past bank robberies, whether fictional or real, are usually planned secretly and very methodically, however, this one is anything but, and as the saying goes, “everyone in town is a crook”.  A must see, fast-paced, and high content comedy for anyone who likes farce – something that Mischief Theatre excels at.

Reviewed on 22nd October 2018 | Image: Contributed

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