BWW Review: THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY, Criterion Theatre

BWW Review: THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY, Criterion TheatreThe Comedy About a Bank Robbery celebrates its second birthday amidst a tsunami of laughter. The new cast members shine while the veterans have the comedy locked down to perfection.

BWW Review: THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY, Criterion Theatre"Everyone is a crook" in Minneapolis in the late 50s, so when City Bank is entrusted with protecting a diamond worth half a million dollars, escaped convict Mitch Ruscitti sets off to steal it. Love triangles, mistaken identities, and various unfortunate gimmicks lead the characters on a laugh-out-loud adventure.

Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields's subtly executed wordplay feels natural and genuine in the hands of the current company. Matt Hunt takes on the role of Mitch Ruscitti, he completes his sharp and defined acting range with handsome-bad-boy looks and brings a new level of insolence to the criminal; while Samson Ajewole is wickedly funny as Cooper, Mitch's not-so-well-trusted sidekick.

Jack Baldwin and Jenna Augen are an impeccable fit for the improbable couple Ruth Monaghan/Officer Shuck, even though their storyline has the tendency of being smothered by the strength of the rest of the company.

Sam Fogell and Holly Sumpton continue the roles of Sam Monaghan and Caprice Freeboys and have the chemistry and buoyancy of the pair nailed down. Their epic charades game in the first act is a definitive highlight and Sumpton is guaranteed to leave the audience in stitches.

The real thief is Chris Leask, who steals the scene every time he steps on stage. As Everyone Else, he doesn't merely fill in the gaps in the cast, but takes the show to another degree of fun. The already extremely high bar is raised even more by Leask's hilarious physical comedy and his array of nutty characters. The understudies in the ensemble are also on par with the principals and help to sprinkle the scenes with healthy weirdness.

The equivocalness and natural gaiety of the story goes up a notch and becomes uproariously silly by small sketches that, albeit not being immediately useful to the plot, add a side of slapstick that's far from cheap: from a row among three of Caprice's suitors (all played by Leask) to a very peculiarly acted office vignette, their witty quality eases off the already elated spirits.

Going into the third year in the West End, it's safe to say that Mischief Theatre's brilliant farce is as fresh and entertaining as when it first premiered and crime has never looked funnier.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is now booking through April 2019.

Photo credit: Robert Workman

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From This Author Cindy Marcolina

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