A few weeks back I went to the theatre for the first time in AGES. It almost breaks my heart how long it’s been since I was sat in the stalls of a West End theatre! I’ve now set myself a goal to see at least one show a month. That can be West End, touring or even AmDram; I just want to immerse myself in the arts more! Give me musicals and plays, I don’t care. I just want live theatre in front of me! In May, I managed to pick up a fourth row seat to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery for £13 (see how in my previous theatre post) so it would’ve been rude not to!
Heads up, I won’t be giving starred reviews for my theatre reviews and there is a very good reason for that which you can read in my review guidance page. The main reason is that I am not a critic and don’t know what makes one show 5 stars and one that was equally as good in my eyes a 3 starred performance, but please read my full guide for the full reasoning behind it.
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a play devised by Mischief Theatre, the folks behind the Olivier award winning The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong. The latter was on television over Christmas and I have honestly never laughed so hard at something on TV. I knew after watching it that I had to see more work from Mischief Theatre.
Playing at the Criterion Theatre in the heart of Piccadilly, it can easily be missed. Whilst it’s in the theatre district, most people find themselves gravitating to the advertisement lights opposite rather than the tiny marquee nestled in the Lillywhites infrastructure. I’m going to be honest, even though I knew the theatre was there I didn’t really know because I was ignorant to the theatre being where it was. I won’t make that mistake again!
Because I booked my seat through lastminute.com, I didn’t know which seat I would be allocated which is why I went for a £13 seat rather than a £10 seat – that £3 could’ve made all the difference, and I think it did! I rarely sit in the stalls when I go to the theatre as I never think they’re that fantastic for the amount they cost but D22 was definitely worth the money. On TheatreMonkey.com, this seat has been given a bright green shading which means compared to other seats in its price bracket it was great value for money. And I agree! Found two seats in from the far side of house left (stage right), I missed virtually nothing. One seat to my left and I would’ve missed a tiny bit of action downstage stage right but this was perfect for the price.
Onto the show, without giving too much away. The pressure was definitely on for Mischief Theatre as they’d had such success with their ‘Goes Wrong’ duo – would they replicate the success they had with a third show? The answer is 100% yes! Whilst this show is a comedy, it’s a full on farce. The jokes are stupid and a little predictable, but it works. Puns, wrong names, and a whole lot so misunderstanding
A relatively small cast with a simple storyline, but a lot of action to keep on top off. Yes, on top of the spoken comedy there is a whole host of physical comedy to sate your appetite. Escaping from prison, broken beds, locking men in cupboards and crawling through air conditioning vents – so much could go wrong but it just doesn’t. Lines and actions are expertly delivered with perfect timing and not a slip up in sight!
Not usually a fan on straight plays? Me either. I’m definitely a musical junkie but every now and again I like to see a play and get away from the spontaneous dance moves. So if you’re like me the don’t worry, there’s a couple of musical numbers to keep you on your toes. The doo-wop tones definitely takes you back to the 50s and adds to the ambience, and surprisingly doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a play.
All of this, and I’m still going to say that it’s sort of family friendly. I went to a Saturday matinee so the usual mix of the more distinguished clients and families were there, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Smiles all around! Whilst there are a fair few innuendos (and even a little more than that in some places), they’re not totally inappropriate to take young teens to. It’s definitely not The Book of Mormon, but it’s not as innocent as the likes of The Lion King.
I’m definitely going to look into tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong (I’m so annoyed I missed the tour when it hit Leicester a couple of months ago) because I’m definitely ready for another barrel of laughs from Mischief Theatre. Well done guys, I just hope you achieve similar success with this show as it’s definitely deserved! Thank you for a wonderful afternoon of laughs at The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.