‘Alfie Moore’s, It’s a Fair Cop’ (Bedfringe, 23 July 2022)

“Alfie Moore has something to talk about, a rich vein of thought-provoking tragi-comic material that is worth hearing.”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars (Outstanding)

The Radio 4 crowd are in en mass tonight. There are few cultural institutions which have done more to incubate and nursemaid emerging British talent than the airwave venue to be found at 92-95 FM and 198 LW. For a certain tribe in our society, those frequencies are as familiar as their own childhood telephone number. Frequency modulation and long wave. Those matter. The DAB digital radio, Freesat, Sky or Virgin Media addresses for Radio 4 do not. Shibboleths are crucial whether you’re trying to stop Ephraimites from crossing the River Jordan, or you’re trying to identify yourself with the last hold out of the Reithian mandate to inform, educate, and entertain. Alfie Moore’s, ‘It’s a Fair Cop’ is the latest in a long line of exquisitely produced audio content that has set the gold-pressed latinum standard since 30 September 1967.

We enter to find Bedfringe’s main stage rigged for standup which is appropriate because Alfie Moore is a standup comedian. What has set him apart from the anonymous herd of edgeless blethers and anxiety-including also rants is that for twenty years Moorse was an officer with Humberside Police, serving his communities to make them safer and stronger. In other words, Alfie Moore has something to talk about, a rich vein of thought-provoking tragi-comic material that is worth hearing.

I’m a Radio 4 baby with a Brian Redhead beard, I don’t like crowds so I’ve sneaked a solitary seat in the sort-of-but-not-entirely-closed-upstairs, extreme stage-right, opposite the Royal/Presidential Box. From my superb vantage point, I can see down onto Moore’s colour-coded show notes as well as his occasional kindly stern glances up in my direction which leaves me feeling that the very best course of action for me to take is to confess everything – I did it. I did go through a door clearly marked “no entry” to get here. I did see the sign. I do like feeling importanterer and betterer than everyone, even my own Radio 4 people.

The show notes steer the conversation, and it is a conversation, between Moore and his audience. Like his radio show, with its 1m+ listeners, the conversation focuses on the choices made each and every day by ordinary men and women wearing the Queen’s uniform. Would we get to the scene of a possible burglary with lights and sirens flashing? Knowing the suspect is possibly on the premises, would we wait for backup? How would we identify ourselves? What’s the actual crime here? BTW breaking and entering is an American import and not a British legal concept, Moore informs us, but he would say that, he’s with the Feds.

By curtain call, we’ve gained an insight into life on the beat told by a storyteller with a natural gift whose talent has been honed and sharpened in the cultural nursery equivalent of Kew Gardens. We leave knowing more (informed, tick); with a broader understanding of the context of what we’ve learned (educated, tick); and we’ve laughed – a lot – (entertained, tic). In the Disney+ adaptation of Alfie Moore’s, ‘It’s a Fair Cop’ we can imagine the bright-eyed ex-copper looking up at James Cromwell, the taciturn actor playing Lord Reith, who smiles down just as he did in the final scene of Babe. They share in the glory and the crowd’s adulation before Cromwell, as Reith whispers, “That’ll do pig. That’ll do.”


Reviewer: Dan Lentell

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