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  • Writer's pictureFrances

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery Review | The Lowry | Manchester

Mischief Theatre is forming a collection of runaway successes for audiences, essentially in love with slapstick comedy. For anyone who hasn’t witnessed a Mischief production, you can expect a finely tuned mess that tickles the funny bone and is fuelled through the template of amateur theatre. With an old-school guise, the new clowns of comedy follow a straightforward formula that is crystal clear, Make ‘Em Laugh.

Here we follow a misguided group of eccentric robbers as they hatch a plan to empty the city bank of its diamond. Pinning familiar wordplay with physical comedy, the shows marvellously formulaic performances are timed to perfection. Revised by sharp staging formed by the director, Mark Bell and set designer David Farley, the shows inventive updates offer picture-perfect sets on the Lowry stage.

The production has a deceptively large budget despite its makeshift appearance that makes use of every prop, angle and lighting fixture. From flipping audiences’ perspectives to folding beds, its simple premise has layers of inventive setups that force you to accept the unacceptable. With its multitasking twelve-member cast, the characters are asked to switch the structures of the set, double as scenery and perform live musical cues throughout the show.

Written by the members of Mischief Theatre, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery follows the familiar path of their previous work. Fast-paced jokes and visual gags are teamed with daring stunts that keep the audience simultaneously smiling and stunned. Concocting a fine mix of action and humour, the show rigorously riffs on predictable comedy routines throughout its first half. After the premise to the bank robbery has been set, the shows special effects and musical brew are cranked up for the second half of its comical production.

I have never heard an audience laugh harder than during The Play That Goes Wrong, despite its narrative taking second place to its slapstick. The show hits all manner of age groups and people appear smitten with Mischief’s nostalgic take on comedy. However, the show is as subtle as being repeatedly hit on the head with a stick and if you cannot handle two hours of You’ve Been Framed pleasantry, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is a better bet. This production offers a deeper narrative which comes complete with live musical routines and weighty comedic performances. It is sure to broaden the Mischief fanbase further as it branches out into television and hopefully continues its run on comedy high jinks.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is a fanciful show, from a fantastic company who have made it their mission to make you laugh.

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