Devisors: Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson, Tom Roe
Venue: The New Wolsey Theatre
Reviewer: Paul Couch
Those of us old enough to remember Dragnet in the late 60s (no, not the 50s version, thank-you!), Starsky &Hutch in the 70s, and Cagney &Lacey in the 80s, will recall how every tough-as-old-boots maverick cop was given 24 hours to solve a case or they’d be answering to the suits at City Hall. Nothing was done by the book, coffee was black, and perps had the right to die in a hail of bullets just for asking for a lawyer.
Well, far from New York or Chicago – the usual stamping grounds of this toughest of street cops – there are two lawmen who are cleaning up ‘downtown’ and not a wraparound cardigan to be seen.
The Police Cops – the name nicked in itself from a fictitious TV show within The Simpsons – are Tom Roe, Nathan Parkinson and Zachary Hunt, who comprise The Pretend Men – and their mission is to track down notorious Mexican drugs baron, Hernandez. The man in charge of the Precinct is Officer Molloy (Hunt), who wastes no time in recruiting young Jimmy Johnson from a world of pain to become “the best damn Police Cop…ever!”.
The story is ludicrous, the political correctness is non-existent, but the performances are awe-inspiring. Police Cops has won numerous awards already, including Pulse Festival’s Suitcase Prize in 2015 and Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence, and little wonder. Apart from the razor-sharp (sometimes) timing, the physical performances are impressiveand who knew washboard abs were standard issue in the American police forces?
We don’t care that the costumes look as though they’ve been salvaged from a charity shop, or that there’s more than one occurrence of deliberate ad-libbing aimed at making another actor corpse, because the fun on-stage permeates to the audience who, at the Pulse production, were in fits of laughter throughout.
Police Cops is a madcap roller-coaster of ribald, irreverent humour at the expense of another nation’s worst character traits, but it’s meant fondly. Officers Johnson, Harrison and Molloy may be a little rough around the edges, but then again, so are the streets they patrol.
Reviewed on 27 May 2016 | Image: Contributed