Mischief Theatre are perfectly positioned to sweep into
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is part spoof, part musical, part farce, telling the story of a motley crew of crooks who plan to break into Minneapolis City Bank to steal a huge diamond. Wallowing in its 50s setting with cartoonish abandon, the show ticks off all the expected genre set pieces, from a daring prison escape to an ingenious heist sequence that proves to be the production's
Built on a foundation of sight gags, slapstick and word play, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery's greatest asset is its ensemble, who bring energy and skill that powers the production magnificently. Though initially cartoonish, the cast are able to give their roles life and complexity, elevating the show beyond mere spoof. For the first half hour the show feels, at times, stuck by the needlessly complicated set-up it finds itself in, having to introduce a multitude of characters and competing motivations, waiting for them to clash in the show's second half. And yet once this is out of the way the piece skips along at a terrific pace building to a standout scene when we reach the heist.
As Mischief Theatre shows get more complicated the writers (and founders of the company) Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields throw in more and more elements. Here we have fabulous do-wop songs, asides to comedic seagulls, gravity defying stunts and a magnificent beast of a set. Designed by David Farley, the set consists of a pair of giant blocks at the side of the stage that open out to reveal an apartment, complete with malfunctioning fold-out bed, and the venue of the heist, the bank. There are other tricks that I won't spoil here.
It has been heartening to watch Mischief Theatre go from strength-to-strength, and with The Comedy About A Bank Robbery they have another hit on their hands. While not quite achieving the side-splitting comedic heights of The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, it is nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable farce, powered by a fabulous ensemble and a number of outstanding set pieces. I'm already looking forward to the theatre company's next visit.