The Comedy About A Bank Robbery | Review

Show rating: ★★★★
Accessibility rating: ★★★

'Summer 1958. Minneapolis City Bank has been entrusted with a priceless diamond. An escaped convict is dead set on pocketing the gem with the help of his screwball sidekick, trickster girlfriend... and the maintenance man. With mistaken identities, love triangles and hidden agendas, even the most reputable can't be trusted. In a town where everyone's a crook, who will end up bagging the jewel?' - The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

If you're at all stagey then you probably have a long list of shows you'd like to see and are slowly ticking off, I know I do and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery ended up being pretty high on my list in recent months. It seemed totally different to the shows I usually go for and came across as a fun night out. You might be familiar with Mischief Theatre, the geniuses behind The Play That Goes Wrong, and unfortunately the theatre that production is in isn't accessible for me as a powerchair user so we decided on seeing one of the newer productions from them instead and it definitely proved to be a good night out.

The comedy is very slapstick and the humour is very British, resembling the kind of comedy my Mum grew up on and it's definitely the kind of show I think you could take your parents and family to. It took a while for the show to get going, at first it felt a little cringey but by the time everyone had settled into the roles they'd be playing for most of the show I was laughing and smiling constantly. It's definitely a show not to be taken seriously, it's one goal is to make you laugh and smile and it definitely delivers on that.

When we entered the theatre the stage was very bare and I really had no idea what to expect set wise but it truly blew me away. Parts of the set were almost like Ikea flat pack furniture, they came out of nowhere to build up the bank that the play is set around. I love a good set and this one was really up there for me purely for how clever it was. There were also some scenes that used some of the best staging I've ever seen, I won't spoil anything but I think it's worth a trip just to behold the set and staging. It's clear to see that a lot of thought has gone into everything, the cast are constantly working hard to make it appear almost like organised chaos. Everything is seamless but the comedy factor is always there and I like how they played on the fact and recognised that what they are doing is acting.

I think if you're looking for a guaranteed fun night out, with good humour, and something you can bring the whole family to then this is the show for you! I'm really glad I finally went along and saw what it's all about.

As for the access at The Criterion Theatre, it was like no theatre I've been to before and that is because the two wheelchair spaces are in the upper circle! Never before have I come across this, I think it's potentially unique to the Criterion because it's underground in the middle of Piccadilly Circus so the upper circle is actually on the ground level. Access into the theatre for wheelchair users is via a back entrance, I wasn't able to get into the box office so my girlfriend picked up the tickets and a member of staff took us round to the entrance. The accessible toilet is on the way to your seats, there's quite a lot of doors involved in this journey but a staff member was always with us to help out. It was a decent sized accessible toilet, not huge but not so tiny that I couldn't turn around in it.

Our seats were back of the upper circle, although back of the upper circle is only row C in this theatre. I really expected it to be really far away from the stage, in both height and length but it felt more like we were sat in the dress circle because it wasn't far away at all. I quite enjoyed experiencing a show from a totally different seat to what I'm used to as well! Our tickets were sold as restricted view, with the upper circle itself restricting the front of the stage ever so slightly but it wasn't an issue at all, we certainly didn't miss anything. Our access rate tickets were £11.25, with seat prices starting from that, so it's a really reasonably priced show. As always it would have been nice to have more seat choice and to have been able to see more of the theatre than just the auditorium itself!

The show has captioned, audio described and signed performances coming up in November and it's currently booking until May 2020. You can find access information on the Criterion Theatre website.

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