REVIEW: The Comedy about a Bank Robbery defies gravity at Cambridge Arts Theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:57 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 20 February 2019

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

Archant

This show is a masterclass in comedy. The performances are flawless, the movement is balletic, the singing is sublime and the acrobatics defy gravity. With immaculate timing, this is extreme farce.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is at the Cambridge Arts TheatreThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

This show is a masterclass in comedy. The performances are flawless, the movement is balletic, the singing is sublime and the acrobatics defy gravity. This is extreme farce - a relentless kaleidoscope of transitions.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is the latest in the “Play that goes Wrong” series from Mischief Theatre. It opens with a wallop and ends with a bang - or several wallops and several bangs. In the meantime, the cast performs multiple roles (even those ostensibly playing the same character).

The ever-changing set by David Farley is the most ingenious I have seen. At one point, two actors are playing off a wall at right-angles to the ground.

It starts in a prison cell somewhere in America (from the accents, I am guessing the Southern States) with the prisoners planning to rob a bank in Minneapolis.

Once they escape, they go to devious lengths to impersonate bank personnel to pull off a heist to steal a diamond, which somehow involves three men wooing the wiley bank manager’s daughter.

Everyone in the cast has immaculate timing every single second, or the whole thing would fall apart. The joy of the performances is that they are genuine and so much funnier for that with lovely character creations.

Everyone acts their hearts out. Liam Jeavons as the gangster Mitch Ruscitti, really is menancing. Sean Carey is entirely convincing as the charming, young man gone wrong, petty thief Sam Monaghan.

David Coomber gives a well-observed performance as the just slightly camp Neil Cooper, the gullable prison guard who prides himself as a leading light of the amateur stage.

The scenes are laced with some glorious harmonies, songs from the era of the Andrews Sisters.

I could have listened to Julie Cullen, who artfully plays Ruth Monaghan, Sam’s mother, singing all night. (She trained at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire).

Jon Trenchard is perfect (and rubber limbed) as the hapless Warren Slax with his comb-over who has worked at the bank as an intern so long he is surely near retirement.

Killian Macardle is a slick Officer Randal Shuck and Damian Lynch is a past-master as the bank chief, Robin Freeboys. George Hannigan is a delight as “Everyone Else”.

Everyone is a joy to see, but the stand-out act for me was the remarkably versatile Julia Frith as gangster’s moll, Caprice Freeboys - a real bravura performance as she changes attitudes, personalities and personas every few minutes.

This show is turbo-charged, it’s jet-propelled, as energetic as you will see on a stage anywhere.

The audience roared. This clever play is on for two weeks and a perfect half-term treat.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 2.

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