Go to a comedy they said. It will be funny they said. London Box Office ranks the production 4.7 out of 5. What could possibly go wrong?
Written by Henry Shields, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Lewis, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is shown at the Criterion Theatre on London’s West End. Starring the same theatre company behind The Play That Goes Wrong, the slapstick show is the story of six guys trying to rob a huge diamond from a bank in Minnesota, USA.
Branded the ‘funniest show in town‘ and a ‘spectacular night of madness‘ by various newspapers and theatre critics, I was optimistic about seeing a comedy show on the stage, excited for it being a change to the typical production I see. In the middle of the front row of the circle, we were poised and ready for the show.
Over the years I have witnessed some pretty questionable shows on tour, on the West End and in amateur productions, but until I saw this one I had never been unable to sit through the remaining half of the show and took it upon myself to leave at the interval.
It just was not funny. As I have mentioned before in my review of Waitress, humour that involves exaggerated body movements that exceed boundaries of normal, physical comedy has never really appealed to me. Unlike at Waitress, for this play I had no anecdotes from personal friends telling how fantastic it was and attended the show with no real expectations, other than being entertained by the comedic element, after all it did have the word ‘comedy’ in its title.
Their slogan for the show is that “it would be criminal to miss it”, but in my honest opinion, it would be more of a crime to waste money on this evening of unfulfilled entertainment.
Whilst it distinctly was not my type of show, I must give credit to the performers on the stage. Everything they delivered was aptly over the top and apparently comical in its appeal, as the rest of the auditorium seemed to be really enjoying the show, bellowing with laughter every couple of seconds at one thing or another. I need to highlight the fact I am by no means panning the show or saying that it was not well written or put together, which is how I felt when I went to Waitress, I am simply stating that the show did not appeal to me personally.
Unfortunately for me, slapstick comedy just does not cut it. The repetitious nature of puns and explanation of gags from one dopey character to another really frustrated me and is one of the main reasons I also tend to avoid pantomimes.
I am happy that I have seen another show on the stage and I continue to learn what I like and what I don’t, but this one is definitely not something I would personally recommend. I have come to the realisation that I tend to find things branded ‘dark’ or ‘witty’ more humorous than shows described as ‘comedic’, ‘mad’ or ‘hilarious’.
Maybe this show would appeal to you more? Is this a show you would like to see? If anyone has seen it and knows if they make away with the jewel, do let me know in the comments below.