Police Cops | Review by Steve Bennett
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Police Cops

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

When there’s an award for most chiselled abs on the Fringe, and it’s surely only a matter of time, the team behind Police Cops must be a shoo-in.

For Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson and Tom Turner don’t waste any opportunity to strip to their waists in this genre parody, defined by its high energy and tightly choreographed set pieces, but uninspired in its regurgitation of all the old cliches.

You don’t need to be a detective to figure out this is a spoof of cheesy 1970s cop dramas, with a renegade young cop and a chief who barks: ‘I want this done by the book, goddamit.’ Our hero teams up with a grizzled, disillusioned has-been to crack open a Mexican drug cartel, whose kingpin has an accent even Speedy Gonzales might consider a bit racist.

Everyone overacts, of course, the declamatory melodramatic delivery leaving nothing to subtext. For ‘subtle’ is not a word that springs to mind for this rambunctious, fast-moving hour, rattling through all the cliches of the genre, from cops haunted by a troubled past to luxuriant porn-star moustaches.

Most of the audience loved it, but for me the parody was all-too familiar, and the story to preposterous to invest in. By now there are probably more spoof 1970s cop series than there ever were real ones. And by the end of the hour, Police Cops were recycling ideas they’d previously used as they tied up Loose Ends – though you could charitably call them callbacks, I suppose.

There’s no denying the slapsticky show is a low-budget spectacle, but it’s an empty one. The montages are a performance highlight, frantically but seamlessly charting the cops’ perps-busting exploits. For such a tight show, the actors also do well when they depart from the script, in a semi-improvised rant that cracks the others up.

This off-piste hit at Zoo venues last year, now given a prime Queen Dome slot, is buoyant with good-natured fun, stemming from a love of the shows they are mocking. But it wasn’t enough to arrest my attention.

Review date: 24 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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