What are the ingredients for a bank robbery comedy? A ragtag criminal gang, a double serving of double-crossing, a training montage, and many pairs of dark sunglasses. The Bank Job has it all. Airebourne Theatre even add a superspy parody into the mix.
Oceans 11 meets James Bond meets Robin Hood
A team comes together to steal an indeterminate (but certainly copious) amount of gold. They plan the heist, they prepare for the heist, they heist. Complications come in the form of love-triangles and ineptitude. Comedy comes in the form of toying with your expectations. If you’ve ever seen a movie in which an infiltrator crawls through a conveniently large vent, then you’ll enjoy a recreation of that trope with a child’s play tunnel standing in for the vent. Plus, the prize isn’t the only gold involved. As it turns out, our heroes also have hearts of gold. They’re stealing to fund a foodbank. This isn’t just Oceans 11 meets James Bond; its Oceans 11 meets James Bond meets Robin Hood.
But you won't need me to tell you the plot. Narration is provided throughout by an inventively sardonic voiceover (Matthew Morton), who begins by introducing the key players. Morgan King stands out among them from the moment he forward-rolls through his opening scene. The six-strong cast match each other’s high energy and adeptly manage to portray distinctive characters, in spite of their fairly homogeneous costumes.
The best farces tend to begin with chuckles, and build to side splitting hilarity towards the end. Unfortunately, The Bank Job never quite gets there. A few punchlines, metatheatrical asides and popculture references win laughs from the audience, but that’s about as successful as the humour gets. The aforementioned vent is probably the comedic highlight. The characters don’t have enough chemistry or development to encourage investment in their relationships, and the plot is resolved so quickly and easily that it verges on anticlimactic.
At the end of the performance, the audience is asked for donations to The Trussel Trust, a charity which aims to alleviate hunger in the UK. Like their well-meaning protagonists, Aireborne Theatre’s heart is undeniably in the right place, whether or not every element of their production succeeds.