Reviewed by Kim Bickerdike
When I heard The Comedy About a Bank Robbery was coming to the Liverpool Empire, I knew I had to see it. Friends of mine have been to watch this show in London and Newcastle and both raved about it. It is produced by Mischief Theatre – the company behind The Play That Goes Wrong which I thought was a mastermind show, and could happily watch again and again so I was really looking forward to seeing what this production was all about.
Set in 1958, the show begins in a Minneapolis jail where a convict Mitch Ruscitti (played by Liam Jeavons) manages to escape with a little help from one of the corrupt guards Cooper (played by David Coomber) and hatches a plan to steal a priceless diamond, kept at the Minneapolis City Bank which everybody including all the prison guards wish to get involved in.
Mitch is the boyfriend of Caprice (played by Julia Frith) who is the daughter of the bank manager Robin Freeboys (played by Damian Lynch) and this intertwining of characters is confusing and comical and these characters bounce from disaster to disaster throughout the whole show leaving the audience in fits of laughter. It is here that two more people become Freeboys impersonators in an attempt to get the keys to the vault where a huge diamond is under safe keeping for the Prince of Hungary and the interplay with one of the guards Officer Randal Shuck (played by Killian Macardle) is very amusing and skilfully performed.
At times the plot is tricky to keep up with and during the first half I struggled to follow the story but this classic farce is full of witty dialogue with plenty of clever and entertaining word play that provided the audience with lots of laughs and rounds of applause after each scene.
The second act was better than the first, the story came together and this is where the bank heist takes place. The set changes throughout this show are fantastic, they are countless and slick. My favourite set of the show was a sideways set offering the audience a view of the office from above which created a hilarious challenge to the actors who attempted to cross the room to retrieve papers and make coffee. The audience laughed all the way through this ingenious and well performed scene – very clever indeed. However, a slight criticism is there are some scenes that don’t seem to fit in with the main plot and this can be confusing as to why it is in the show.
The final act is well acted, and the conclusion allows the potential thieves to escape to Canada with any number of bodies strewn everywhere and the very last bit is totally unexpected and I will remain silent here so as not to spoil it for anyone who has tickets
This show is unique, funny, well performed, silly, clever, confusing and if you are looking for a show to make you laugh, this is the show for you.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is at the Liverpool Empire from 4-8 June 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017