REVIEW: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Criterion Theatre

Now in its third year at the Criterion Theatre, Mischief Theatre’s third show is still as lively and funny as ever.

Laughter is supposed to be the best kind of medicine available and there is no doubting Mischief Theatre’s ability to make people not only laugh but offer escapism from the negativity of the world for a couple of hours – highlighted to great effect in this hilarious production.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery follows the escapades of Mitch Ruscitti and his hapless gang of criminals who are all set to rob Minnapolis bank of a jewel worth half a million dollars. Naturally it goes without saying that it doesn’t all quite go according to plan thanks to mistaken identities and unfortunate incidents and drama that keep the audience thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

Written by Mischief Theatre’s Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery unlike The Play That Goes Wrong contains less slapstick (although the bedroom scene and the robbery itself is excellently choreographed) and more wordplay that shows just how cleverly thought out the show is and offers a new side to their comedy writing skills. In particular, it is moments such as the confusion about who is Robin Freeboys between Sam and Officer Randal Shuck that stand out and capture the cleverness of the writing.

Mark Bell’s lively and engaging production keeps the action flowing nicely for the most part – with only the scene in Caprice’s apartment needing some tightening up as it begins to slow the pace down despite the numerous jokes that are constantly thrown at the audience. Everything has been cleverly thought out and is extremely creative – with David Farley’s easily adaptable set design proving particularly impressive and providing more opportunities for jokes.

But of course it is the cast themselves that really has to make the show work, requiring a lot of energy and enthusiasm as they transform from character to character. It is Jean-Luke Worrell as the hapless and unfortunate Warren who really shines throughout with his great comic skill and endearing portrayal of a character who really is the most unfortunate out of them all – with the office scene with his boss Robin Freeboys (a suitably pompous and over the top Leonard Cook) proving to be a real highlight.

Meanwhile, Chris Leake as Everyone Else also delivers an enthusiastic performance in a multitude of roles – but it is his appearance all at the same time of three of Caprice’s suitors at the beginning of Act two that is mesmerising and engaging to watch as he falls and transforms between characters with great speed and style. Jenna Augen offers a sharp and sassy performance as Ruth Monaghan (who is more than she initially appears) with great vocals on ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’ and Samson Ajewole as the slightly dim but well intentioned Neil Cooper are also excellent support.

It might be in its third year at the Criterion Theatre, but The Comedy About a Bank Robbery still feels as fresh and funny as ever – it really is criminally good!

By Emma Clarendon

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery continues to play at the Criterion Theatre.To book tickets click here or visit:  Last Minute.comTheatre Tickets Theatre.comSee, From The Box Office, West End Theatre Breaks and Encore Tickets.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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