Criterion Theatre, London
Mischief Theatre’s world domination continues with this hilarious and occasionally dark comedy about a bank heist gone wrong, which LoveLdnLoveCulture revisited recently.
So what do you get if you get a group of incompetent crooks, one diamond and even some seagulls together? The completely mad, brilliantly written latest from the creative team behind The Play That Goes Wrong.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is one of those rare shows that to give too much away would ruin the jokes, but it is suffice to say that there is plenty for audiences to enjoy – from the word play and the many jokes referencing Freeboys, requiring sharp wit and great timing to the physical comedy that Mischief theatre have become so well known for (look out for the scene in the apartment for example) and has certainly been taken up a notch in terms of stunts as the robbery in the second act shows.
There is no doubting the writing abilities of Henry Lewis, Henry Shields and Jonathan Sayer who now have three plays on in the West End at the same time, providing as much nonsense as possible but never getting too carried away. They may have created a bunch of misfit characters that under normal circumstances would never work together, yet for some reason in this case it does.
For those expecting another Peter Pan Goes Wrong or The Play That Goes Wrong, you might be surprised at the slight change in approach, with a hint more drama and even a few deaths too than previously presented by Mischief Theatre – but it shows the confidence in their abilities to branch out from the usual ‘goes wrong’ scenarios.
But this is a show that allows the cast to still get involved as much as possible, whether it is singing in between scenes or actually physically changing the set (effectively designed by David Farley) and all is done with great energy and enthusiasm.
For the cast there is plenty of quirky characters to play, with standout performances including Jonathan Sayer as elderly Warren an intern at the city bank, who usually bears the brunt of a series of accidents – sweet, likeable but not all there. Gregg Tannahill as Cooper delivers a hilarious performance of a character who just doesn’t know when to shut up to his cost, while Henry Lewis as Robin Freeboys is suitably snobbish with a bit of a ruthless streak yet the performance is balanced enough to laugh at him rather than dislike him.
The show does take a while to settle down and get going, with much of the first act setting the scene and plans in motion but once it does it doesn’t allow you a second to breathe from laughing so much. Perhaps the other slight issue is the reliance on certain jokes, particularly when it comes to Freeboys that just lasts a little too long that makes it feel a bit padded out.
But director Mark Bell’s production is a great way to escape the winter blues for a couple of hours at least – it would be a crime to miss it.