The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (Sunday Matinee) @ Criterion Theatre, 17/7/16

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Image via HotelDirect

Once again, I have completely and utterly failed at updating at least semi-regularly. I want to be better. So badly. But alas, working two jobs means that free time is rare, and also that when I do have free time I am exhausted and have a bunch of other stuff to do. The only time off I’ve had recently was a few weeks ago when the American was here and even then we were super busy all week. More on that another time, though.

One of the many things we did while he was here was go and see The Comedy About A Bank Robbery at the Criterion Theatre at Piccadilly Circus. With one us being a poor student and the other a poor graduate, we were looking for something entertaining and affordable and the ‘affordable’ qualifier generally means most West End theatre productions were far out of our reach this time around. We booked our tickets on YPlan and it cost us £22 each for pretty decent seats in the stalls. So not a bad start. On the YPlan app, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is described as:

One giant diamond. Eight incompetent crooks. And a security guard asleep on the job. What could possibly go right? Penned by and starring the Mischief Theatre Company, this is another hilarious stage show from the group behind The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong. With the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy already under their belts, this is certain to be another surefire hit. It’d be criminal to miss it. 
It’s worth noting neither of us have seen the Mischief Theatre Company’s other productions, but we were still very excited – especially the American, who really, really loves anything about an elaborate heist.
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The Criterion Theatre at Piccadilly Circus
Right from the moment we walked into the Criterion Theatre (which is absolutely stunning, btw), the attention to detail was apparent. The audio playing in the background was stylised as a 1950s radio station, which fit right in with the period it is set in (and during the interval, it even referred to the events of the first half). And right from the moment the play began, we were crying with laughter.
Bank Robbery uses puns, wordplay, physical comedy and pure genius throughout, and the entire production bursts with colour from start to finish, with dynamic scene transitions, often featuring incredible cover songs from various members of the cast. A highlight was for me was a scene where many of the actors were literally hanging on the wall in order to show a birds-eye view of the room. and the fourth-wall breaking that came along with that.
There were some truly heartbreaking scenes towards the end, however. With multiple shootouts at the end, the change of tone is drastic but believable and heart-wrenching and I loved every minute of it.
Ultimately, I went into this play not sure what to expect. I came out delighted and wanting to see more. With so much negativity in the world, we need more of Bank Robbery‘s and Mischief’s outrageous, bright and inventive brand of theatre. We need more comedy that is both simple and inventive, and this is exactly that. I’d go again in a heartbeat.

The End of Longing @ Playhouse Theatre, 29/2/16

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via LoveTheatre.com

A few months back, my flatmate told me about how Chandler from Friends had written a play that was coming to the West End. And that he was also going to be in it. She was very excited about it. We booked our tickets at the end of January, and last week we actually saw Matthew Perry’s debut as a playwright at the Playhouse in London with our very own eyes.

According to its website, The End of Longing‘s plot is described as:

Meet Jack, Stephanie, Joseph and Stevie: four lost souls, entering their forties and searching for meaning. After sharing one raucous night together in a downtown Los Angeles bar, their lives become irreversibly entwined in a rollercoaster journey that forces them to confront the darker sides of their relationships.

A fast paced and bittersweet comic play, The End of Longing, will make you realise that broken people don’t need to stay broken.

From the moment each character opened their mouths and introduced themselves, they never failed to entertain. Although much of the first half of the play (especially in the beginning) was a little slow, it was definitely funny. It made the audience roar with laughter, and as the second half went on, it made them (well, me at least) cry. Across the two and a quarter hours, The End of Longing was able to invest the audience in these wildly different characters, and their relationships, old and new, and create an emotional connection to them throughout the good and bad.

My only criticism was there were times that the acting felt a bit stiff and wooden, especially on Perry’s part. This definitely disappeared as the play went on, with solid writing and characters to help overcome this issue.

Overall, The End of Longing delivered on its promise of being sharp and entertaining. It wasn’t perfect, sure, but it was entertaining and hilarious – and that’s all that mattered.