Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward
Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields
Reviewer: Lu Greer
Following the incredible success of The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre return to Norwich with The Comedy About a Bank Robbery which follows the attempts to safely store a priceless diamond in the most corrupt city bank imaginable. It seems like a simple premise, but once Mischief Theatre gets their hands on it things become anything but predictable.
The story follows escaped convict Mitch Ruscitti (Eddy Westbury) as he manipulates his (sort of) ex-girlfriend Caprice into helping him execute a half-derived scheme to steal a near priceless diamond from a bank vault. Plot-wise, the show really does keep things just this simple, but it is the way that it is told that creates a show which outdoes the Mischief Theatre offerings which have come before.
From its opening, it is clear that The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is a step up in production value for the company with set changes maintaining their signature chaos while also bring a certain sense of slick control which matches the 1950s setting. It would have been easy in a show such as this to fall back on the world of slapstick we’ve seen before and know that this company do so well; what we get instead though is a move into the narrative. With only a loose plot to work with the audience really get to know each of the characters without having to sacrifice the running jokes, wordplay, dramatic irony, or careful timing that make this style of comedy great. There are a few times that a joke is overdone, and a scene is stretched out to near breaking point, but it is always followed by a new and bigger laugh to make the audience forgive the pacing.
While the entire ensemble come together to create an excellent show which hinges on their unmistakable chemistry, there are certainly standout performances. Julia Frith as Caprice utterly steals the show as she demonstrates some outstanding timing, physical comedy, and genuine emotion; her performance in miming her family’s history to a confused Sam is one which will remain in the minds of the audience long after the curtain. Alongside her, Killian Macardle as Officer Randal Shuck is another notable in the show for the heart he brings to his performance; he is an equal in comedy to the rest of the cast but is genuinely affecting when he shows his feelings for Ruth (Ashley Tucker). Possibly the most memorable aspect of the show, however, are the sets from David Farley which open carefully and create forced perspective to give the audience an immersive experience in the middle of the heist.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery in the simplest terms gives you exactly what it promises in the title. On top of that, though, it gives you subtlety, intelligence, and bigger laughs than you’d ever expect watching someone try to steal a diamond.
Runs Until: 20 October 2018 | Image: Robert Day