The Comedy About a Bank Robbery by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields (2016)

Nine actors, 35 characters.

One of the most wildly inventive plays I have ever read.  Hugely talented writers.  Expanding the limits of what’s possible on stage.

Act One

  • Scene One
  • Not clear why the WARDEN comes in when he does.
  • Constant puns.
  • Reversal: Guards busting out the prisoners.
  • Everyone told everyone about the robbery.
  • It keeps escalating. Completely over the top.
  • RAUL dies early.
  • Scene Two
  • Throwing papers.
  • Mistaken identities.
  • Hilarious wordplay on Robin Freeboys.
  • CAPRICE dialing for dollars.
  • SAM steals CAPRICE’s pocketbook then gives it back.
  • Scene Three
  • The escalating pecking order of police anger and moustache size.
  • SAM and CAPRICE love story.
  • Scene Four
  • Repeating joke of CAPRICE having many guys.
  • The Murphy bed.
  • Seagulls.
  • SAM making up stuff as he speaks watching CAPRICE.

Act Two

  • Scene One
  • The escalating police command chain again.
  • Scene Two
  • SAM dressed as FREEBOYS.
  • Radio “over” nonsense.
  • The abuse of WARREN is possibly the funniest thing ever written.
  • Scene Three
  • Singing the song as they break in.
  • Scene Four
  • Car chase.
  • Scene Five
  • And that’s it.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895)

Before there was Lady Bracknell, there was Lady Gay Spanker.  Smaller cast than LONDON ASSURANCE, but many similarities.  After the initial setup there is a long dead space of declining interest – until the final windup, which is good.

Act 1: Algernon’s flat in London

  • JACK enters under false name ERNEST
  • Town & Country | Ernest & Jack
  • The cigarette case – and its inscription
  • Bunbury
  • JACK won’t tell ALGY where his (JACK’s) country house is
  • But then ALGY overhears JACK tell GWENDOLEN where the house is

Act 2: The Manor House

  • ALGY arrives
  • JACK arrives early
  • JACK announces ERNEST has died
  • JACK wants to be baptised
  • JACK sees ALGY
  • GWENDOLEN arrives and discovers CECILY
  • The jig is up – everything is revealed

Act 3: The Manor House

  • The reckoning with LADY BRACKNELL
  • Brothers at last