The Pretend Men: Police Cops
A shallow and clumsy parody of cop shows misses its target
The best you can say for Police Cops is that this is classic late-night Fringe fodder. A lightning-paced affair that should require deep concentration to follow it closely, the hour conversely seems best appreciated by those with a skinful of ale coursing through their veins. The narrative thrust and wildly exaggerated characterisations might bring to mind the Pajama Men, but that New Mexico pair do a whole lot more with far less in the dressing-up box. And while the Pajama's palette is wide, colourful and subtle, the Pretend Men's show is shallow, one-note and clumsy.
A parody of all the buddy-buddy cop shows and movies you've ever seen (including the ones that have already spoofed the form), the synopsis pretty much writes itself: attempting to avenge his brother's death, a guy becomes a cop and is taken under the sheepskin-jacketed wing of a maverick older officer; they fall out but eventually reunite to crack the case.
It's a tightly choreographed show (the fact that the trio of actors don't bump into each other given the pace they leap around in is certainly admirable) but the high-octane jerky movements become a little tedious on the eye after a while. And the script is substantially less funny than the cast think it is: 'it's not about what you become, it's about what you're going to became' is a typical offering. A crowd-pleasing farce that has the actors corpsing at any opportune moment, this is a show that couldn't get arrested.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug, 9.45pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£11).