Bank Job, Gloucester Stage Company

Gloucester Stage
267 East Main Street
Gloucester, Mass.
May 19 – June 10, 2017

Written by John Kolvenbach
Directed by Bob Walsh
Role: Officer Dale James

Thinking he’s alone, Officer Dale James (Johnny Lee Davenport) checks himself out in the Executive Bathroom mirror. (PHOTO: GARY NG)

Jill (Shuyi Jia), the bank teller emerges from her hiding place in the stall, to hold Officer James (Johnny Lee Davenport) hostage and protect the bank robbing brothers, Tracey (Nael Nacer) and, especially, Russell (Paul Melendy). (PHOTO: GARY NG)

Officer James (Johnny Lee Davenport), Tracey (Nael Nacer), and Jill (Shuyi Jia) listen to Russell’s (Paul Melendy’s) mnemonic technique for escape options. (PHOTO: GARY NG)

The group (Nael Nacer, Shuyi Jia, Paul Melendy, and Johnny Lee Davenport), are joined by the brothers’ father (Richard McElvain), who tries to help them devise a plan where everyone gets out safe–and rich. (PHOTO: GARY NG)

As part of the plan, a handcuffed Officer Dale James (Johnny Lee Davenport) and Jill (Shuyi Jia) await their rescue. (PHOTO: GARY NG)

Critical Response

Johnny Lee Davenport, Shuyl Jia, Richard McElvain, Paul Melendy, and Nael Nacer put themselves through a dizzying array of physical and emotional contortions as they tell the implausible tale of two brothers who set out to rob a bank and attempt to escape through a window in the Executive Washroom.
The action is fast‐paced. Mr. Kolvenbach’s writing can be a bit formulaic, and the characters not all fully developed, but these fine actors make the most of the material, and deliver a thoroughly entertaining performance.”
Al Chase, White Rhino Report (May 21, 2017)

“Matters only grow more complicated when Dale, a police officer played by Johnny Lee Davenport, shows up in the washroom. Is Dale intent on bringing the robbers to justice? At first, yeah, but Dale proves to be a cop with a rather supple view of morality and the law. The versatile and always­busy Davenport, whose work at Gloucester Stage has included starring roles in dramas like ‘Master Harold . . . and the boys’ and ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ has a way with a line that succeeds in mining the humor in Dale’s casual casuistry. The officer is willing to offer sage advice. When the brothers conclude they need a hostage to effectuate their escape, Dale warns: “Juries don’t like a hostage taker. You want to rip off a bank go ahead, help yourself — no one likes a bank — but you take a hostage and that regular postman jury man is thinking how that could be me.’’
Don Aucoin, Boston Globe (May 23, 2017)

“Being a madcap comedy, The Bank Job demands a certain suspension of disbelief. In return, it pays dividends aplenty in the form of laugh-out-loud lines and more than a few plot twists along the way.”
—Mark Sardella, Wakefield Daily Item (May 24, 2017)

“The cast is a major plus, with returning Gloucester players Nacer, Melendy, Davenport and Richard McElvain . . . giving inspired comic performances, while Jia is convincing as the obliviously lovelorn bank teller Jill. . . . this is the very definition of light comedy.Michael Hoban, Theater Mirror (May 25, 2017)

Johnny Lee Davenport delivers multiple layers of emotion, fabulously funny facial expressions, and a believable, well realized, characterization. Davenport and Jia have a quiet, simple and revealing conversation in the bathroom as the brothers (they think) are escaping.
This is an exhilarating and eccentric comedy with some serious touches. It works extremely well in the intimate setting of Gloucester Stage and the performances are a joy to behold.”
Sally Applegate, Wicked Local Georgetown (May 26, 2017)

“Playing the Keystone Kop is a nice departure for Davenport, who often handles roles with greater gravitas, and he proves that his bag of tricks includes skill with light comedy. . . . Davenport offers some delights in his role.”
—Nancy Grossman, (June 2, 2017)

“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.”
—Kim Smith, My View of Life on the Dock (June 3, 2017)

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