With the roaring success of Mischief Theatre’s, The Play That Goes Wrong, it was no surprise that The Comedy About a Bank Robbery was highly anticipated. Mischief Theatre started in back in 2008 by a group of graduates from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Since starting as a small theatre group, they have risen as the unexpected West End success story. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery opened in 2016 with The Play that Goes Wrong still going from strength to strength.
That is all the synopsis you need, it’s in the name, it’s a comedy about a bank robbery. I will give you a little more though. Randomly enough and with no explanation offered we’re in Minneapolis in 1958, where a Hungarian prince has deposited a priceless diamond in an inept bank, never the less I went with it.
Hilarity then ensues as a Canadian gang break free from jail, with help from the jail’s own guards and roping in the bank manager’s daughter and her new lover.
I do believe Mischief Theatre are a cut above the rest when it comes to comedic timing and ability. There is no doubt that every one of their actors is extremely talented in this area. Despite a few flaws I will get to, I was laughing from start to finish and got completely lost in this crazy world they drag you into. The comedy is slapstick yes, but is long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’ll more than likely enjoy the show.
Everything is so slick, not a single mistake and it’s a joy to watch how they work are such a tight knit team. I also couldn’t rave enough about the stage set, it is incredibly inventive and blew my mind.
There was more singing than I thought there be, as it’s not described as a musical whatsoever, this initially took me back but it is used ironically and for scene transition as you get pulled deeper and deeper into this whirlwind that is happening in front of you. The fact that they all were incredible singers, made you mind the randomness a little less.
It’s very different their other shows in many ways but I like that it shows that the theatre company isn’t stuck can reinvent itself and be fresh. They are committed to making good theatre, not just the same theatre.
With the singing thrown in there and other scene breaks that didn’t really connect, it did, at points feel a little jumbled and disjointed. It’s safe to say that it is not as good as The Play That Goes Wrong, but they set the bar impossibly high there. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is still a very funny and worth watch.
This show is absolutely mad with a ridiculously high energy level but, sit back and let them take you on the ride and you won’t regret it. Each and every cast member put on a fantastic display of acting ability.
The highlight for me was undoubtedly the lengthy bedroom farce where, when the bank manager’s daughter’s old lover returns from prison to get her in on the act, she must cover her new boyfriend up as her father, trying to pass over a degree of information behind the convict’s back, with varying success. Let’s just say the number of American geographical locations with ‘ass’ at the end was milked to its full, ridiculous potential. This scene is also flooded with a faulty pull-down bed, over bed ‘storage’ and various boxes, cupboards and doors that are continuously opening and closing with various people in and out and at a pace that is remarkable. Naturally people get trapped in the fold-up bed and all the usual things that we just know are going to happen but are still somehow hilarious when executed well.
Unless you’ve been robbed of your sense of humour, you’ll have a good night so jump on the wagon and hold on!
Reviewer: Lowri Hiles
Reviewed: 29th January 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★