“The perfect Fringe show”
Where do you even start to review Police Cops: The Musical? I’ve tried around ten different openings and cannot crack it. Such is the life of a hungover hack. I toddled along to the show with a pal who had booked the tickets. I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes you just luck out and this was one of those times. Grinning at each other during the entirely deserved standing ovation he said ”loved that! Relentlessly bonkers!. That, I think sums it up.
The show is a pastiche and a homage to 80s cop double act shows. So many tropes lampooned: the moving origin story as to why our hero becomes a cop; a gnarly old partner who bleeds red, white and blue and runs on Jack Daniel’s; the shadowy villain who is always one step ahead; the play it straight boss who cannot see eye to eye with the renegades who might get results) but again… this description doesn’t butter any parsnips. The Police Cops constantly surprise you – and sometimes themselves – with ad libs, improvisations, or just gags that wrong foot you (ex-cop Gonzalez constantly surprised me). There is always something happening – something funny, something silly, something that makes no real sense.
In many ways this is the perfect Fringe Show. Well-performed, funny songs. Everything on point. Hilarious plot twists. A steady stream of revolving characters. Improvisation throughout. There was even hilarious interpretative dance (the use of toilet roll was genuinely hysterical). Each actor stealing the stage from the rest time after time – each absolutely nailing their performance.
I loved that the cast just about kept it together as one of them went off script to hilarious effect or threw a curveball mid act. You never know if it is planned or not – either way they are so quick, so charming that it doesn’t matter. The key to the show is in the consistent inventiveness and how they make it all happen. A small example without spoiling anything: a man inside a cardboard television giving a news report on developments and then telling us he was only doing it to allow him to move to the other side of the stage one of a hundred examples of their silliness but also cleverness.
Stewart Lee is giving these guys shout outs at his show every morning. No wonder. Relentlessly silly. Endlessly clever. Constantly surprising. The cast were beaming when they saw the ovation. So they should. They were having a hoot as were we.
Only one question for you now: Are you an American’t? Or are you an Ameriwill?