After taking up acting aged 18, Jack Whittle’s first job out of drama school was in The Comedy About a Bank Robbery in the West End. He tells Giverny Masso about the physically gruelling rehearsal process for the show…
How did you get into acting?
I did my first show when I was 18. I was quite poorly and it was a way for me to release that tension. I thought: ‘I’m going to go and do something I enjoy’ and I went and did a school production of Guys and Dolls and it turns out I was all right. I did it because I thought: ‘This will make me happy’, then all of a sudden I caught the bug and thought: ‘Yeah, let’s keep it going’. It kept steam-rolling into the next thing and the next thing, then suddenly I’m at drama school and it’s a career rather than just doing it as something that makes me happy.
How did you get involved in The Comedy About a Bank Robbery?
I graduated from Guildford School of Acting in summer 2017 and the audition came through in October that year. I saw the show about a month before I auditioned, I thought: ‘This is perfect for me’ and I was chuffed to bits when the audition came through and even more chuffed when I got it. I play Sam Monaghan, a pickpocket who falls in love with another character called Caprice, who is also a con-artist. Her initial motive is to con Sam out of money and as a result Sam gets roped into her schemes and they end up having to rob a bank together.
What was the rehearsal process like?
The start was weeks of intense stunt rehearsals on top of the blocking rehearsals, because the show is so physical. You’re hanging off drapes from the ceiling and being thrown all over the place, so it’s not just about acting in rehearsals. You spend a lot of time on health and safety and things like that, which is pretty intense. To find yourself on stage – where, as an actor you feel quite comfortable, because you’re doing your job – doing stunts such as climbing a ladder and jumping from it, throws a bit of a curve ball at you. Thankfully I got to grips with it very quickly.
Why do you think the show is still running in the West End?
The company is amazing, Mischief Theatre is taking over the world slowly but surely. Really, it’s because there’s just so much Brexit talk all over the papers and doom and gloom on the TV and you can escape all of it by watching the show. It’s such a fast-paced hilarious release of tension for everyone.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is booking at the Criterion Theatre in London until May 3, 2020. More information is available here: thecomedyaboutabankrobbery.com