How To Rob a Millionaire (In Five Easy Steps)

Aug 24 2023 | By More

★★★☆☆     Fun

Greenside @ Infirmary St (Venue 236): Mon 14 – Sat 26 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

A cleverly constructed plot, discharged at breakneck speed, makes Napier University Drama Society’s How To Rob a Millionaire (In Five Easy Steps) a cheerful and comically satisfying production.

Nick (Fraser Nickolls) is putting together a team of misfits with special skills to take down an entrepreneur who sells teddy bears for a charity, selflessly rescues kittens and has saved ‘all the bees’, but whose public persona hides a distinctly evil side. It is not just the money for Nick and his cohorts – there is personal revenge at stake.

Fraser Nickolls and Lia Palmer. Pic: NUDS

Yes, it’s another comedy heist, but it is done with more sheer enjoyment than many examples of the genre, with the requisite number of double-crosses, triple-crosses and plot twists.

Olimpia Zardi’s writing is also decidedly sweet at times, with some of the characters’ motivations for settling the score believable and touching – even if some elements of the backstory do not bear too close an examination. Zardi and Ryan Farquharson direct with considerable pace, while still giving the comedy room to breathe.

There is a real relish to Nickolls’s performance as the self-obsessed, self-appointed leader. Lia Palmer’s entrepreneur Ava, not even willing to hide the fact that she is a villain, is also a very funny characterisation. She always manages to stop herself from tipping over entirely into melodrama.

Fraser Nickolls and Lia Palmer with then Lennon, Grace Perrow, Alice Lowrey and Lilith Allen. Pic: NUDS

There is strong support from the rest of the cast – Fi Montanari, Ethan Lennon, Grace Perrow and Sam Gower play the various operatives (with skills of varying degrees of usefulness) with commitment and comic drive. The characters are often little more than types, but the performers give them sufficient life. This means that the plot – which, with its convoluted nature and a sometimes crowded stage, could be extremely confusing – easy enough to follow.

Lilith Allen and Erin Draper’s characters are given more emotion to play with, and they respond well. Johnny Gemmell and Alice Lowrey, in roles which (originally at least) appear less pivotal, also make their characters appear real.

Grace Perrow, Ethan Lennon and Fi Montanari. Pic: NUDS.

There are a couple of references that are distinctly on the adult side for a show that deals with the effect of childhood experiences (and is essentially about a teddy bear); but with a couple of tweaks this could easily be a show for all ages.

Alexys Kerr’s technical operation means that the whole thing runs smoothly, and even if it runs out of steam a little towards the end, it is never less than pleasing.

In the end, it all may be somewhat inconsequential, but this provides a great deal of fun, and audiences will definitely enjoy it.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Forest Theatre), 6 Infirmary St, EH1 1LT (Venue 236)
Monday 14 – Saturday 26 August 2023
Daily (not 20) at 8.45 pm
Tickets and details Book here.

Napier University Drama Society links:

Facebook: @napierNUDS

Twitter: @NapierNUDS

Sam Gower, Ethan Lennon, Grace Perrow, Fi Montanari, Lilith Allen, Fraser Nickolls, Lia Palmer, Erin Draper, Alice Lowrey, and Johnny Gemmell. Pic: NUDS.



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