Mischief Theatre are the aptly named company who bring this fast paced, extremely silly and very funny show to Norwich this week. Perhaps best know for The Play That Goes Wrong they bring new skill levels and technical wizardry to their latest caper.
Once again a script that leaves no gag unused is matched by a precise and physical performance that requires split second timing from all nine performers. To achieve this timing is impressive, particularly when you learn that three of tonight’s cast have stepped in to replace original members.
The bank robbery plot is set in Minneapolis in a small private bank about to be entrusted with a valuable diamond. Almost every character on stage has some illegal intention upon either the diamond or other characters. The set transforms from prison cell to bank office to sultry boudoir as the action requires and with some rapidity. Set in the early sixties we have music and fashions to match with some great singing from the cast. It is not a musical, rather a play with some songs, a balance that works well and helps to keep the frenetic pace going.
Bank owner Robin Freeboys (Damian Lynch) spends lavishly on doing up the bank building but grudges the staff their pay, even the loyal Warren Slax (Jon Trenchard) his most loyal assistant. Trenchard is a delight with excellent slapstick abilities and a good singing voice. Bank clerk Ruth Monaghan (Ashley Tucker) is mother to young spiv Sam (Tom Hopcroft) who plots with Mitch (Eddy Westbury) to rob the bank of the diamond, along with several wayward prison officers including the very camp Neil Cooper (David Coomber) who is given a supersize portion of double entendre to deliver to us. Coomber is given an amazing solo routine which involve simultaneously taking several different character roles, even having them fighting with each other. Meanwhile Caprice Freeboys (Julia Frith), Robin’s daughter keeps several young men believing that they are in love with her, as long as their cheques keep rolling in. Ruth meanwhile takes a shine to the FBI officer Randal Shark (Killian Macardle) for some unexpected cupboard consummation, and any risk of a quiet moment is thwarted by ‘Everyone Else’ (George Hannigan). Frequently.
The plot is simple, and probably a bit irrelevant to this jolly comedic romp which is directed to milk every drop of humour from the diverse bunch of misfits in this little corner of an America that is some way off from being great again. This is industrial strength good fun which you will enjoy hugely from about ten seconds after the show starts, an epic dose of silliness to distract you from the murky realities of life today.
© Julian Swainson 2018
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 October, Eves 7.30pm, Mats Weds, Thur & Sat 2.30pm. Tickets £10-£31.50. Discounts for Friends & Corporate Club, Over-60s, Under-18s and Groups. Captioned Performance on Thursday 18 October 2.30pm. Audio Described Performance on Saturday 20 October 2.30pm.
For more info or to BOOK ONLINE www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk