“Bankers” is a Humorous Look at the Apocalypse
Review by Adam Schwartz
If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you try and save? Would you save your collection of stamps? Your video games? Your pets? In more than one way, this is the question that Brant Russell poses in his dark comedy, Bankers. A world premiere at Know Theatre Cincinnati, this show focuses on a small town called Bialystock, one of the most thriving communities following an implied nuclear apocalypse. The town, surrounded by a nature preserve, seems to be one of the safest places in the world, until a few unexpected visitors arrive.
Plot of Bankers
The show runs around 2 hours and the pacing is just what you would want from a comedy. The show never feels like it drags and the tempo and timing of the line delivery and jokes is always on point. For being set in the apocalypse, the humor is a welcome departure from the normal zombie and utter existential doom and gloom. Admittedly a lot of the humor comes from the concept of those born after the apocalypse referencing the past, such as discussing the “blue bird book” when they refer to Twitter and how everyone used to use ‘hashtags’ but they call them ‘POUND’. The humor is charming and keeps the mood light, even when dealing with some heavy topics.
The Production Team
The director for this show, Andrew Hungerford, uses the space to its absolute fullest in the direction of the actors. Hungerford also designed the sets, which give a great sense of timelessness to this apocalypse. There are the typical metal tube chairs reminiscent of the 1980’s and 90’s, but there are also nods to the hanging fluorescent lights, often seen in high schools and hospitals. Noelle Wedig Johnson’s costume design truly give life to the wild cast of characters to the pseudo sheriff ‘Hunter’ played by James Creque with his cowboy hat and shoulder holsters to the ominous sunglasses of ‘The Migrant’ played by Eileen Earnest. Overall the whole production breathes life into Russell’s vision of Bialystock, and the world truly feels lived in.
The acting in the show is top notch. The unshakeable Surry, played by Aisha Josiah is the defacto leader of this small town. Her two companions are her head of security, Hunter (Creque) and Herby played by Ben Dudley, a goofy, loveable post-apocalypse child who has a fondness for the wildlife, evident by his fake deer antlers permanently affixed to his head. The real standout is The Old Man, played Jim Hopkins. His character is one shrouded in mystery, but to speak in vague terms so as to now ruin the play, but so full of depth and sadness that he truly seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.
If the apocalypse has ever worried you, and you are concerned about current politics and the state of the world, then this show is just the exposure therapy to see what could be, in a more humorous light. While I will keep my personal politics out of this, this show offered a good dose of hope in a time so fraught with concern at every turn.
Ticket to Bankers
I urge you to go and support not only a local theatre company, but also support a local playwright. Cincinnati is that much more of a hub for excellent original works that touch the heart and soul. Bankers is playing at the Know Theatre in Over the Rhine until May 14th. Purchase tickets at the Know Box Office HERE or call 513-300-5669 (KNOW).