The Pretend Men: Police Cops (2 stars)

A shallow and clumsy parody of cop shows misses its target

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The Pretend Men: Police Cops

credit: Alex Brenner

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).

Police Cops

  • 2 stars

Winner: The Stage Award for Acting Excellence 2015 Winner: Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence 2015 Winner: Pulse Festival Suitcase Award 2015 Winner: IYAF Best Comedy Play 2016 Winner: VAULT's People’s Choice Award 2016 Following not one, not 2, but TWO sell-out runs at London’s Soho Theatre, THE PRETEND MEN's…

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