It’s a comfort for theatre bloggers to be able to start off a little piece of writing by introducing the show with character introductions and a basic storyline. Unfortunately for me, the title pretty much does half of my job for me. This play is what it says on the tin; it’s a comedy about a bank robbery. No, it’s not musical theatre so I am a little bit out of my comfort zone with this but I enjoyed the show and it seemed fair to share it with you.
I must admit when I arrived I was slightly apprehensive. Theatre fans will understand the feeling; you go to see a show for the first time and buy a programme to have a little peruse beforehand and you get handed “the slip”. This slip tells you there’s going to be an understudy. Imagine my worry when I saw not one, but three, understudies on my little slip; Sam Fogell as Sam Monaghan, Holly Sumpton as Caprice Freeboys and Mike Bodie as Robin Freeboys. I needn’t have worried because, as is normally the case, the understudies did a wonderful job.
“The Comedy About a Bank Robbery” comes from the masterminds at Mischief Theatre who also penned “The Play that Goes Wrong” and “Peter Pan Goes Wrong”. I saw “The Play that Goes Wrong” back in March this year in Milton Keynes and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fourth wall was broken within seconds and the set up of an amateur dramatics group putting on a play is sheer genius. I laughed until I hurt and I laughed until I cried. After seeing this it seemed natural that I would visit their other production in the West End.
The style of “The Comedy About a Bank Robbery” is very different to Mischief Theatre’s other two shows. Something which cast member, Dave Hearn, described as “unfamiliar territory”. Rather than having the premise of a show within a show, it was more of a “classic” story telling scenario. That said, they cleverly still broke the fourth wall in some hilarious and not-so-subtle ways, my favourite instance being a scene with Jeremy Lloyd.
I must commend Jeremy for his role in the play as “everyone else”. Jeremy plays, amongst other characters, 3 different lovers of one woman, Caprice, which is fine when they are conveniently never in the room at the same time but becomes more of an issue when they find out about each other and get in a fight! It was fantastically choreographed and exhausting to watch but Jeremy pulls it off extremely well. He was undoubtedly my favourite person in the show and he definitely had me laughing the most.
I must admit I really fell in love with Cooper (Miles Yekinni). He had me laughing from the opening scene and his sweet and slightly stupid personality makes him extremely watchable. When he was on stage I couldn’t help but smile and his smile was absolutely adorable!
Sam Fogell (Sam) also shone on the stage; his role was definitely the most physically demanding of them all and, I can imagine, extremely difficult to understudy. I am obsessed with the meticulousness of the sketches and the script in this show. The timing of all the cast has to be completely on point, if one person is two seconds too slow the whole scene will be ruined. I was loving watching the fluid movements of the performers amidst the chaos of the storytelling. The script for this show is absolutely fantastic and, similarly to “The Play that Goes Wrong”, there’s a nod of respect to old school comedy. I saw elements of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers within the show and I don’t think I would’ve batted an eyelid if Basil Fawlty had stormed onto the stage to get stuck in with all of the madness.
There were little to no bad points to this show. My personal opinion is that the comedy isn’t quite as strong as “The Play that Goes Wrong” but it’s not far off at all. It was a very funny, endearing and clever show, with a talented cast. To be honest, I can’t fault it at all. I loved it.