Touring – reviewed at The Lowry, Salford
Guest reviewer: Daniel Shipman
Laying its cards on the table from the very start, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is just that – a comedy about a bank robbery. Taking the well-worn but equally well-loved form of a farce, the play makes for an entertaining evening but isn’t without flaws.
The performances are wonderful. The cast of 12 conjures a small army of comic creations which keep your interest far after the jokes begin to lose their charm through sheer repetition. It is such an ensemble piece that I could name any cast member really, but Jon Trenchard as the loveable yet tragic Warren strikes the ideal balance of comedy and pathos.
The play is far from the best example of a farce I’ve seen. Some jokes are stretched out far too long (one example of bedroom-based physical comedy had me repeatedly checking my watch) whilst others simply aren’t funny – tired camp stereotypes rear their head a little too often.
The reliance on exaggerated slapstick recalled classic comedy such as the Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin. If these references seem dated, that’s because they are – if you’re treading in the footsteps of greats like these, you need to either execute it perfectly or bring something new to the table, and I’m not sure this show quite achieves either.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery doesn’t try to be anything more than an evening of escapist fun at the theatre. It sets itself the modest goal of staging a decent farce and meets this, but it doesn’t break any boundaries or split any sides in the process.