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BWW Review: Irrepressibly Zany POLICE COPS a Giddy Ride on Laughter-induced Endorphins

BWW Review: Irrepressibly Zany POLICE COPS a Giddy Ride on Laughter-induced Endorphins
Poster artwork by Guy Saunders
for The Pretend Men's POLICE COPS

POLICE COPS is pastiche on a grand scale, taking the buddy cop genre, putting a self-aware spin on it and playing tropes that were once taken extremely seriously to the very edge of sheer lunacy. The results are hilarious, as though THE MOD SQUAD were taking on IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT in the WILD WILD WEST at RUSH HOUR. It is the kind of theatre that entertains and engages audiences entirely over its hour-long duration, brilliantly executed but self-contained. POLICE COPS is not a play that will change your life, but it will lift your spirits with its irrepressibly zany spirit - and there's nothing wrong with that.

POLICE COPS kicks off with when Jimmy promises his dying brother that he will grow up to become the best police cop of all time. Jimmy works his way up in the force and his no-nonsense commanding officer, Malloy, pairs up the idealistic lad with a Harrison, a jaded officer who has left the police force under a shadow. Instructed to take down a crime kingpin, the pair finds themselves in a series of bizarre situations, all of which lead to the revelation of a plot twist of which the screenwriters of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL would have been proud.

Bringing POLICE COPS to life is a team effort, and nobody drops the ball. Zachary Hunt (Jimmy), Tom Roe (Harrison) and Nathan Parkinson (Malloy and numerous other characters) deliver performances incorporate everything from physical theatre hijinks and fantastic acrobatics to chortle-worthy pun drops and eye-popping chest reveals.

BWW Review: Irrepressibly Zany POLICE COPS a Giddy Ride on Laughter-induced Endorphins
Zachary Hunt and Tom Roe as the titular POLICE COPS
Photo credit: John Williams

The design suits the improvised feel of the piece, with bits and pieces of set and costume as well as several key props used to underline the comedy in both the text and physical scoring of the production. Everything adds up to first-rate comic entertainment, leaving the audience giddy on laughter-induced endorphins.

Having played to several full houses over the course of the Cape Town Fringe, it appears that POLICE COPS has been on the schedule of many visitors to the Mother City's premier theatre festival, which has become a robust toddler on the South African circuit even though it is still experiencing some teething problems - not the least of which is limited payment facilities in the Fringe Club, which might otherwise be an inevitable post-show gathering point for the unanimously entertained audiences of this uproariously funny piece of theatre.

POLICE COPS ends its run at the Cape Town Fringe today, after which it will play various dates in the UK during October and November. Follow POLICE COPS on Facebook for all the details.

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