Londoners looking for some farcical comedy this autumn should make their way to Piccadilly Circus and the Criterion Theatre, where The Comedy About a Bank Robbery awaits. Created by Mischief Theatre, the team behind West End and Broadway hit The Play That Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery takes on a 1950s jewel heist in hilarious fashion and was recently extended to April 2018. We spoke with one of the show’s stars, Tania Mathurin, to discover some backstage secrets, what inspires the actress and her recipe for performing at 100% each night.
How would you describe The Comedy About a Bank Robbery to someone who hasn’t seen it yet?
I would describe it as a fast paced, slapstick-style comedy set in 1950s America, where a priceless diamond has been entrusted to the Minneapolis City Bank. An ex-convict and his friends decide to hatch a plan to steal it. Throw in some incompetent bank employees, a love triangle, mistaken identities and hidden agendas, and you have a recipe for chaos!
You have been a regular on the West End for quite some time. How did your theatre journey come about?
I grew up in Dorset, where I started dance classes after the principal spotted me in a local talent competition. I went on to join a local Speech and Drama school and so I was always busy doing exams, shows and festivals. A big moment for me was watching my first West End show, which was 42nd Street at Drury Lane. I was absolutely blown away, and think I decided then and there that was going to be my career! I came to London at 16 and attended Arts Educational, getting my first job in my 3rd year, so I went on tour and I’ve been bobbing along ever since.
What inspires you as an actor?
I get inspired by watching things, whether it be theatre, TV or film. Watching a great performance on stage or an inspired production you wish you could be a part of is always good inspiration and motivation for me.
Are you able to reveal some backstage secrets to us?
Well, not really, I’ll get in trouble! I can tell you that there are some great visual surprises in the show, which you’ll have to come and see for yourself!
What is your favourite moment from the performance?
There are a few, but probably my favourite moment is near the end of act two in the bank, where everything comes together, or actually doesn’t! It’s proper farce with every character in the show on stage at some point. There’s lots of exits and entrances and I need a lot of concentration, but it’s great fun!
The run just got extended until April 2018! Congratulations! Performing for months after months can surely wear your energy – what’s your secret recipe for performing at 100% for the entire run?
I know, that’s good news, thank you. We have double shows on a Saturday and Sunday, with evening shows from Tuesday to Friday, so making the most of the day off by resting helps. We have a warm up, physical and vocal, before every show and I drink a lot of water during each performance to keep hydrated. I sing a couple of songs in the show, so I always have a steam when I get home at night, and I try to get a bit of exercise in a couple of times a week to keep my energy levels up.
What do you hope the audience will walk away with after the performance?
I hope the audience leaves feeling happy, having laughed for a good couple of hours. It’s great for us also to hear them roar with laughter and get into the spirit of the show, and I think now more than ever, we all need some comedy in our lives.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is currently playing on the West End at the Criterion Theatre.