The Comedy about a Bank Robbery: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields
Birmingham Rep Theatre: The House, and on Tour
Runs: 2h 40m, one interval. Bham Rep till 8 September
Bham Rep BO: 0121 236 4455
Tour Dates to 6 April 2019. Tickets and Info:
Review: Rod Dungate, 29 August 2018
A great, hilarious romp
Mischief Theatre, aided and abetted by Birmingham Rep, start their tour of their latest theatrical mayhem in the large Rep space – The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. Naturally, as we expect from Mischief, not only does it go wrong, but it also goes spectacularly and hilariously wrong.
A handful of bad criminals have a plan to break out of prison and carry out a major bank heist. Except they can’t keep their plan secret and the small group gets bigger and bigger. And so, as they say, the stage is set.
And what a stage. Many doors, trick beds, strange perspectives, penthouse apartments, and a range of eccentric, loopy characters. Mischief has the ability to push each joke or piece of business as far as it can go – then a bit more till breaking point is reached, but never quite past. From this, whether it is physical or verbal comedy, stems their rich vein of humour.
Mischief delights in using the technology of modern theatres and a heart-warming refurbishment of the traditional – like slapstick (sometimes literally slapstick) and prat falls. And, in the true spirit of clowning, this is all done with an infectious childlike naiveté. It is totally, and universally, appealing.
The whole is performed by a terrific ensemble with boundless energy. Mark Bell (or Kirsty Patrick Ward?) directs with matching high spirits in David Farley’s delight of a set.
There is one negative aspect. Too often the hi-energy translates into shouting. Shouting becomes tiring for the audience and clarity is lost. I fear, too, for the actors’ voices – a little voice work would go a long way.
(Full credits will follow.)
Photo: Robert Day