“Bank Job” at Gloucester Stage Features High-Energy Comic Performances

By Tom Hauck

In its New England Premiere through June 10 at the Gloucester Stage Company, Bank Job delivers superb comic performances by a quintet of actors who literally throw themselves into their roles. The setup is simple: After pulling off their heist, two bumbling bank robbers (Paul Melendy and Nael Nacer) flee to the bank’s executive washroom, where they intend to escape out the window to freedom. Their plan is complicated by a woman who happens to be using one of the stalls (Shuyi Jia, a GSC newcomer), an investigating cop (Johnny Lee Davenport), and finally a bystander (Richard McElvain).

It’s a ninety-minute cavalcade of broad-brush comic acting, with the ensemble wringing every outlandish emotion and possibility for disaster from the script by playwright John Kolvenbach. There are a few introspective moments; a welcome respite from the nonstop wackiness is ably delivered by Johnny Lee Davenport as he soberly reflects on his failed marriages and lost dreams.

Directed by Robert Walsh, Bank Job features an evocative set design by Jon Savage. The upscale wood paneling and muted lighting are enhanced by real washroom fixtures provided by Frank Webb’s Bath Center. Within this cloistered arena these five outstanding actors are able to cut loose and flex their comic skills. For tickets, call 978-281-4433, or visit http://www.gloucesterstage.com.From left: Johnny Lee Davenport, Nael Nacer, Paul Melendy, and Shuyi Jia

Photo: Gary Ng

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