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The Comedy About a Bank Robbery: An Interview

Bank Robbery Cast. Photo credit Darren Bell

The Mischief Theatre Company are up to no good. But in a play that The Guardian described as ‘lung-bustlingly funny’ and a critically acclaimed cast, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, already seems to fulfil the prerequisites for potential entertainment material. When Roar asked Mark Hammersley, who plays ‘Warren’, about life in show business, he shed light on his career as an actor with as much humour as the production promises to contain.

Can you summarise The Comedy About a Bank Robbery in 3 words?

Hilarious, surreal and… erm… moustaschey?

Why should people come and see this play?

It’s all a bit depressing outside, isn’t it? What with Brexit, Trump, and the ever escalating price of fish, it can be lovely to laugh, guilt free, at an old man getting hit in the face…

How has the character ‘Warren’ compared to previous roles in your career and who is next on the checklist?

Warren is completely different to any part I’ve played before, this is my first job doing physical comedy and it’s been quite a shock to the system! It’s keeping me lovely and trim though!

I think I’m still young enough to have a stab at Hamlet, but time is running out. Unless anyone is looking for a soon to be middle aged Danish Prince?

What does a typical day show day look like?

I’m in make-up for about half an hour. Our make-up department are excellent at making me look awful! Then we warm up from six to make sure our bodies, voices and funny bones are go. We have a special and incredibly complicated warm up game that we play that takes longer to learn than the show itself!

Is there much improvisation or do you stick to the script?

The show may look completely madcap, but it’s actually timed to the precise second. In order to keep it funny (and safe!) we drill all the moves over and over. Things do sometimes go wrong though, and you have to ad lib to keep it all going!

Do you think you have to be a funny person in real life to play a role in comedy?

I think quite the opposite! All the best comedy comes from a place of truth, if you try to be funny, you rarely are…

What would you have been if not an actor?

When I was in trouble at school, my mum would always say: “you’ll end up working at McVities!” They had an enormous factory near to where we lived. I think she was probably right. If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be making HobNobs for tuppence ha’penny an hour.

What do you look for in a role before deciding to accept it and why did you accept this one?

The money. It’s all about the money… That’s not entirely true. I always look for challenges or things that scare me a bit: that’s when work is the most exciting. I was just blown away by this show when I first saw it. It was so funny and unlike anything I’d seen in theatre before that I was desperate to be involved.


You can catch Mark Hammersley and the cast in The Comedy About a Bank Robbery a stone’s throw away from King’s at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly.


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