Criterion Theatre, London – until 29 October 2017
Having officially opened at the Criterion almost a year ago, it is reassuring to see that The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is still as hilarious as ever – thanks to a number of scene changes and more jokes than ever that allows the new cast to make the roles completely their own.
There might be a new cast, but the game remains the same. Can a bunch of criminals rob the Minneapolis bank of half a million dollars or will it go completely wrong? Thankfully for the audience it goes completely wrong, with plenty of physical comedy elements combined with word play to keep the audience thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.
Mischief Theatre’s ability to create a show that can be easily adapted to keep the show feeling vibrant and new is very clever and means that no matter how many times that you see it there is always something new to make you laugh and appreciate.
Gareth Tempest as Mitch is the classic straight man, trying to rob the bank convincingly but having put his faith in the wrong people, watching his increasing frustration is hilarious, but he is also able to add tension to his performance and an element of seriousness to the production in the occasional moments of aggression – particularly in the second act.
There is also strong performances from Jeremy Lloyd as Everyone Else, often exaggerated but very much in the keeping of the spirit of the show, while Miles Yekinni as Neil Cooper delivers an instantly likeable and charming – if slightly goofy – performance who the audience takes to their hearts. But overall, all of the performances are strong and enjoyable to watch.
Of course another highlight to any Mischief Theatre production is the set design. For the Comedy About a Bank Robbery, David Farley’s set is effective and easily changeable as well as ensuring extra laughs. But because of the way in which some scenes have changed, some scene changes can look slightly clunky – but given time and more performances this might not become so much of an issue.
This new version of the show has been directed with the help of Nancy Zamit a member of the original cast and of Mischief Theatre. Light on touch with just a few more innuendo’s thrown in and she has managed to keep the spirit of the show while refreshing it for new audiences to enjoy.
Fast, furious and fun while being filled with great energy, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is still as fun as ever and is in pretty safe hands with its new cast.