Creators: Zachary Hunt, Tom Roe and Nathan Parkinson
Co-Director: Matt Harrison
Music: Ian Coulter
Parody can be a difficult medium to pull off on stage. The Police Cops troupe have clearly honed their craft after a series of Edinburgh Fringe comedy shows, to the extent that their latest show feels confident enough to not only satirise 1980s US police dramas, but also musicals. Specifically, very bad musicals with questionable choreography.
The spoof storyline sees rookie cop Jimmy Johnson (Zachary Hunt) try to become The Best Damn Police Cop Ever to avenge his dead sister. He teams up with Tom Roe’s disgraced grizzled veteran Harrison to locate and take down a notorious Mexican drug lord before their racist police chief (Nathan Parkinson) can take away their badges.
If the desire to parody a well-worn TV trope betrays the show’s origins as a fringe production, the relentless gag rate – the vast proportion of which not only land well, but bear successive callbacks, each with their own, equally absurd, twists – marks out Police Cops as something special.
Every stereotype from the cop show genre is plumbed and explored for laughs. Johnson’s initial meeting with Harrison, in a sleazy bar frequented by disgraced, drunken ex-cops, juxtaposes lines of intentionally hammy dialogue with a superb visual gag involving a tabletop that is simultaneously the cleverest and silliest thing to grace a show in which so much is sillily clever, and cleverly silly.
There are occasions where the show skirts with exploiting the very racist stereotypes towards Mexicans that it is intending to satirise, but the Police Cops ensemble does at least seem aware that every stumble across that line should be accompanied by a skip back.
Previously a three-piece ensemble, this musical version of Police Cops sees the cast expand with the addition of Mitzli Rose and Andrea Nodroum, who each provide their own distinct energy to the troupe.
The result is a well-rounded, hysterically funny show which rarely, if ever, lets up. But even with the laughs landing with a hit rate that many bigger budget shows would envy, Police Cops the Musical feels also longer than it needs to be. At heading towards two and a half hours, there are small but perceptible patches where the jokes show signs of thinness.
Continues until 23 December 2021