Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Police Cops, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Paul Whitelaw
This exhilarating action spoof proves that comedy needn’t be wholly original to succeed. As the old truism goes: there’s no such thing as hackneyed subject matter, it’s what you do with it that counts.
So, despite the fact that hoary American cop drama conventions have been parodied for as long as the genre has existed, Police Cops puts its own sweet spin on this well-trodden territory.
The key selling point is the crowd-pleasing ingenuity of its knowingly thrifty execution.
Every cliché from the 1970s/1980s cop canon is lovingly exhumed by three hyperactive actors whose earnestly pitch-perfect performances and impressive physical timing are a joy to behold.
They race through the beats of an archetypal rookie-cop-turned-hero storyline armed only with an array of prop-filled cardboard boxes.
As funny though their melodramatic poses and absurd delivery are, some of the biggest laughs come from the sweaty, tactile precision with which they toss props, wigs and costumes to each other, while seamlessly staging every bombastic rock-scored montage and fight scene you’d expect.
With the actors bare-chested and buttock-exposed for much of the running time, it’s like an absurdly homoerotic ballet. Yet despite its blatant toying with the theme, it rarely scores cheap points from the inadvertently gay subtext of so many buddy-buddy cop dramas; there is no mean-spiritedness in Police Cops.
Its adherence to a daft yet structured narrative dilutes the energy towards the end, as plot points and character arcs are dutifully tidied up. However, if you think you’ve had enough of jokes at the expense of maverick cops and 1980s Hollywood tropes, this kinetic mini-triumph might prove you wrong.
ZOO Southside (Venue 82), until 31 August, 9:30pm
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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