Tag Archives: Henry Lewis

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

reviewed at the Theatre Royal, Norwich on 16 October

This is probably Mischief Theatre’s most extravagant offering in its series of theatrical-mishap comedies to date in this new Birmingham Repertory Theatre production. The set (David Farley), quick-change costumes (Roberto Surace), lighting (David Howe) and quirky clever special effects provide part of the visual spectacle.

Split-second timing by an ensemble whose members know just how to play off each other enhances this; tour director Kirsty Patrick Ward keeps tight control. There are visual, as well as plot, nods to Hitchcock (The Birds) as well as to other heist capers  such as The italian Job and Topkapi.

Technical (Alan Bartlett) and stunt (Jami Quarrell) consultants help to keep the audience’s eyes focused and minds engaged – there’s one particular sequence in the second half which is an absolute show-stopper (though you’ll have to see the show to work out what it is).

Of the cast, with several changes from the printed programme, Julia Frith as free-spirit, go-getter Caprice makes a lively “heroine” with Eddy Westbury as her absconding criminal lover Mitch Ruscitti and Damian Lynch as her bank-manager father Mr Freeboys.

Also extremely active are Ashley Tucker as a sort of chorus to the action, David Coomber as criminal sidekick Neil Cooper, Killian Macardle as police officer Randal Shuck, Jon Trenchard as Warren Slax and George Hanniagan as the accurately-titled Everybody Else.

Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, as always for Mischief, are the writers.

Four star rating.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery runs at the Theatre Royal, Norwich until 20 October with matinées on 17, 18 and 20 October. The tour also includes the Milton Keynes Theatre (20-24 November) and the Cambridge Arts Theatre (19 February-2 March). Cast details may vary.

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Peter Pan Goes Wrong
(reviewed at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge on 7 April 2015)

Anyone who has ever been involved, even indirectly through a friend or family member, Knows that amateur productions – especially those of the more ambitious kind – have a terrible propensity to come adrift. This successor to The Play That Goes Wrong. one of last year’s most resounding successes, gives us more of the same.

Adam Meggido’s production of the script by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields begins a good quarter of an hour before the official start time with three overworked stage crew members from the Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society frantically trying to sort out last-minute hitches both back-stage and front-of-house.

These include securing wobbly seats and attempting to finalise the lighting and sound-system cues. When the curtain rises it is to reveal a set on a self-willed revolve (another recipe for disaster, brilliantly conceived by Simon Scullion) and a distinct lack of co-ordination between the show’s narrator (an increasingly tetchy Harry Kershaw), stage management and the over-ambitious special effects.

All the amateur actors have taken the art of preen to its limits.This applies especially to Leonie Hall’s Wendy (she’s had ballet classes and it determined never to let us forget it) the multi-cast Naomi Sheldon (try doubling Mrs Darling, the maid Lisa and obstreperous Tinker Bell) and our hero (Alex Bartram). he’s someone who may have mastered the art of seduction but definitely is a novice at flight.

Laurence Pears has the usual double of uptight Mr Darling (all that rage about a lost cuff-link!) and the would-be debonair Captain Hook. It won’t surprise you to hear that Hook loses his prosthesis, as well as his wig and his hat several times over. Oh yes, as well his footing when his ship fails to moor itself at the correct angle and the revolve, not to mention the flats, take on a perverse life of their own.

The cast thoroughly enjoy themselves while never failing to let us all in on the joke. Pears and Bartram are the funniest of the men, run a close second by Cornelius Booth as a bearded Michael (don’t ask!) and hapless Matt Cavendish as the lad whose family is financing the show but still finds himself relegated to the non-speaking roles of the dog and the crocodile. But all comes right (well, sort of) in the end. Great fun.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong plays at the Arts Theatre Cambridge until 12 April and at the Theatre Royal, Norwich 11 to 16 May.

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