Review: The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at

FED up with February? Frustrated by winter weather woes and the perils of pot holes? Flabbergasted by York City''s inability to ever win two games in a row?

What you need is a night of guaranteed laughter, laugh after laugh after laugh, in the company of those masters of mischief-making, Mischief Theatre. Already they have brought The Play That Goes Wrong – but could not go more right – to York twice, and now they return with West End hit The Comedy About A Bank Robbery: a show so rewarding, so diamond-cutter sharp in its comedy, frankly you should be locked up for missing it.

Three years and counting on the London stage, "Bank Robbery" is now on the road with a cast so good, under the direction of Kirsty Patrick Ward, they would be perfectly at home back south in the Criterion Theatre company.

Written by Mischief's Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, the show is billed as "Ocean’s Eleven meets the Marx Brothers", but the daft delights of the Airplane movies loom large too, not to mention an opening dollop of Elvis' Jailhouse Rock. Whereas The Play That Goes Wrong was very much an English play that goes wrong within an English play that goes even more wrong, this is a glorious American pastiche.

In a nutshell, itchy Mitch Ruscitti (criminally good understudy Eddy Westbury) is busting out of prison in 1958 with somewhat dim Neil Cooper (David Coomber) to rob a priceless diamond from the corrupt Minneapolis City Bank. Weaving in and out of the story are a low-life petty thief (Sean Carey's fantastically elastic Sam Monaghan) and his mum Ruth (Ashley Tucker), the bank receptionist with a love thing going on with Killian Macardle's Officer Randal Shuck.

Then there's Damian Lynch's old-school bank manager Robin Freeboys and his on-the-make daughter Caprice (Julia Frith), Ruscitti's squeeze, but a beacon to all and sundry, even the bank's perennial intern, Jon Trenchard's Warren Stax, 67 and still no closer promotion. Everyone Else is played by George Hannigan, who, at one point, plays three characters at once in a suitors' scrap, a breathtaking piece of physical slapstick that plays tricks on your eyes, such is his skill.

Hannigan's moment, and he has others too, is typical of the ensemble nature of this dynamic, dynamite show, where everyone has the chance to shine, sometimes in teamwork, sometimes individually, but all in a common cause. "Bank Robbery" takes in bedroom farce; trouser dropping; pratfalls; fast-talking verbal gymnastics; heist movie send-ups; a Bogart/Bergman Casablanca shadow play; a climactic shoot-out; romance; Fifties' songs and more. One scene, where a back wall becomes the bank office floor, seen as if from above, will have you wondering: "How did they do that?" Like everything else, they did it brilliantly.

Charles Hutchinson