BWW Review: THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY at MDM Theatre
Broadway Moscow is back at it again-and by that, I mean the production of comedies. It all started last year with The Show That Goes Wrong, and now The Comedy About a Bank Robbery was added to the list. This isn't even on real Broadway yet!
The plot revolves around a criminal Mitch Ruscitti who escapes a prison conspiring with one of the guards, Neil Cooper. Mitch plans to steal a diamond from the bank of Minneapolis. Meanwhile, bank's manager Robin Freeboys (Truboys in Russian version) is getting ready for the visit of Prince Ludwig of Hungary who owns the diamond. His daughter Caprice, a nice girl dressed in pin-up, is engaged in fraud, making love affairs and asking for money from men. She meets Sam, a thief, and they fall in love. The problem is that she dated Ruscitti, and now he's back.
I think we all should have some appreciation for the translator of the play, Alexandra Kozyreva. Usually, I mention translations briefly in my reviews but this is different since British humor needs to find its way to a Russian person's heart. Many original jokes are based on a language game, therefore, some lines (and some names, too) had to be rewritten to be better accepted by a new audience. Not all of them worked 100%, like, for example, with the "weight-I'm waiting" line, but I still respect everyone's involvement in it (actors helping with the translation, I see you!). My favorite changed line is that The Guard no longer calls his uncle a 'burrito', he's now a 'sausage'.
Producers tagged the comedy as 'a semi-musical', as to differentiate it from The Show That Goes Wrong and to give it a unique image. Bank Robbery has some musical numbers: 'Baby You're My Dynamite', 'Come Softly To Me' etc., all in the original language. Do they help the plot? I believe no, they are used as intermissions and transitions between scenes, building the atmosphere but not the action. Radio, playing American rock'n'roll classic during the intermission and prior to the beginning, also immerses the audience into the USA of the 1950s.
At first, I was sceptical about it because I thought that nothing can be funnier than The Show That Goes Wrong. But The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is just a new level with lots of action, amazing sets (the angled office has a special place in my heart now) and wonderful actors. I was delighted to see Pavel Lyovkin moving further from his 'lover' type to a super-masculine dangerous and edgy Mith Ruskitti (also played by Daniil Feofanov and Kirill Gordeev). The opening night's cast also included Anna Glaube (Caprice-also played by Yulia Iva and Ekaterina Kramzina), whom I've seen before in First Date and now will be sure to explore her new roles; funny and energetic Ilya Deniskin (Sam-also played by Oleg Ots and Alexander Falko) and many others. I would like to note that one actor in a comedy (Danya Chvanov, Artem Yoshkin and Daniil Pugachev share the role) has to play 13 characters, 3 of which are shown simultaneously in a single scene. A remarkable performance to witness!
Let's sum everything up. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is great. All the reasons are listed above. Don't wait-Moscow fall with its grey colors, cold and absence of the sun is a pretty suitable time for a night out in the theatre.
Photo Credit: Yury Bogomaz