Police Cops: The Musical ★★★★★ Southwark Playhouse (Elephant) | Mar 1 - Apr 20, 2024


Is it even possible to parody those over-the-top American cop programmes of the 1980s? This show sets out to spoof those inane police dramas and it succeeds quite brilliantly, while hilariously hitting lots of other targets along the way. American gun culture, racism and sexism are all the objects of some devastating shots. The action is non-stop and the jokes come thick and fast. There are lots of serious gymnastics, some quick-witted improvisation and a collection of very funny songs. And the story? Well, all the favourite tropes are here. Naïve young rookie cop, Jimmy Johnson, is paired with the jaded veteran detective, Harrison. The former has seen his sister murdered and is unable to express his love for schoolmate, Rosa. The latter has a secret in his past and drinks too much. Under the watchful eye of a go-by-the-book superior, the two undertake the pursuit of a Mexican druglord who is littering the stage with clues about his next nefarious plan. It is all sublimely silly and the score is a delight. Songs like "Americant" and "Something More Meaningful" bring down the house. Whether singing, dancing or doing backflips, the cast bring an energy and enthusiasm to the performance that is totally contagious. As Jimmy, Zachary Hunt is charmingly dim and as Harrison, Tom Roe is preposterously world weary. In various roles including the duo's superior, Malloy, Nathan Parkinson delightfully invokes his inner Snidely Whiplash. Melinda Orengo as Rosa and Natassia Bustamante as Billie/Gonzales also put in some polished and wonderfully whacky performances. Police Cops: The Musical is some first-rate buffoonery that takes no prisoners.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Pamela Raith

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