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A brilliant two-hour romp: The Comedy About A Bank is an absolute success at Norwich Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 13:35 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:17 18 October 2018

Sean Carey in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert Day

Sean Carey in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert Day

Robert Day

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is an absolute success at Norwich Theatre Royal.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert DayThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert Day

If you fancy an evening of laughter and genuinely innovative theatre then try and grab a ticket for the last few shows of The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, which is at Norwich’s Theatre Royal until Saturday (October 20).

It’s a brilliant two-hour romp that will have you in stitches at some of the slapstick humour and in awe at how the play manages to find some really clever ways to utilise every inch of the stage.

The show is the latest farce by writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, who enjoyed massive success with the Olivier Award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

It tells the story of a hapless attempt to bust a very valuable diamond out of the Minneapolis City Bank.

Liam Jeavons, Damian Lynch and John Trenchard in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert DayLiam Jeavons, Damian Lynch and John Trenchard in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Credit: Robert Day

I’ve never seen a comedy on stage before, so had no real idea what to expect and for the first 15 minutes the fear kicked in as a series of short sketches failed to really deliver the laughs.

But I quickly realised they were setting the scene for the audience as quickly as possible, because the bellyaches soon followed with a superbly delivered scene in which lead character Sam Monaghan (played by David Hearn) attempts to explain why he’s been caught by felon Mitch Ruscitti (Liam Jeavons) in the bedroom of his girlfriend Caprice Freeboys (Julia Frith). The way the characters use the props around them is a joy to behold.

The second half ramps it up even further as the approach to the robbery itself leads to all sorts of mishaps, the comedy brilliantly delivered by all of the cast.

Without giving too much away, a scene in which the crooks look down on the bank office and sees two of the characters suspended in mid air, is pure genius, as well as hilarious.

My own favourite performances come from the portrayal of characters Neil Cooper (David Coomber), Warren Slax (Jon Trenchard), Robin Freeboys (Damian Lynch) and the aforementioned Sam Monaghan.

In playing Slax, the unfortunate assistant to Freeboys the bank manager, Trenchard brings a touch of Lee Evans to the role as well as a level of poignancy that you see in the very best comedy characters.

I’m not sure if it translates into theatre but my favourite film critic Mark Kermode always states a comedy is a success if it has at least six genuinely laugh out loud moments. This more than tops that.

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