Everybody loves a good heist story, and the city of London is no stranger to stories about thievery and robberies. Adding a good sense of humour to a crime story is a difficult but enjoyable endeavour for a writer, and many comedy thrillers have found immense success. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, playing at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, humorously tells the story about a gang hijacking a precious gem from a Minneapolis bank.
There are plenty of laughs to be had in The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, but at times it feels like they are spread too far apart. It is certainly a fun performance that has many positive aspects, especially if you’re looking for a night of cheap, well-executed slapstick production. However, if you want a comedy that will have you analysing jokes and thinking for weeks to come, this might not be your best fit.
The comedy is performed by members of Mischief Theatre, a well-known comedy troupe with plenty of talent. Their performances are generally what you would expect of them – quick-witted dialogue with a strong physical presence and excellent chemistry. It is worth it alone to watch these comedic actors work together, because they certainly have something going that can be difficult to find in a comedy performance. This just might not be the strongest script that they’ve worked with so far.
That’s not to say the writing is bad – it’s just rather inconsistent. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the writers (Henry Lewis, Jonathon Sayer, and Henry Shields) have more experience with British comedy, and this play is more of an homage to American slapstick. They should be admired for stepping into unknown territory and trying something new, but we can’t say that this is a blockbuster success. Still, there are scenes that are gut-busting funny, so it shows plenty of promise if they want to write another American style comedy, or even simply tweak this one to perfection.
The writers also perform in the play, and as we mentioned, the performances are what you should be looking forward to. The actors take the script in stride and their professionalism really shows when they work together. If you want a night of laughs, you’ll be able to get it from this talented group.
There’s some fun to be had with this performance, especially if you like heist stories and strong comedic performances. Just don’t expect to be blown away by every single joke. Some comedies seem to slap you in the face with funny and never stop until the end. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, however, gives you time to breathe between laughs. It isn’t the ultimate comedy, but you’ll definitely have a good time.
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