Live Review: Police Cops The Musical

police cops musical index4th December, The New Diorama Theatre, London.

It’s quite possible that I take writing comedy reviews a little too seriously and only extremely rarely give out a five star review, as to rate something that highly it has to be all but perfect, a spectacular example of the artform at its best. When I saw Police Cops back in 2020 I had no such qualms though, it was a gloriously funny show that I adored to pieces, and with their latest show they’ve created something even better, and as I was leaving the New Diorama Theatre my only thought was whether or not it’d make sense to give a show six stars.

Doing so would make the whole rating system nonsensical of course but I hope it goes to show just how special Police Cops The Musical is. Their initial three shows consisted of the three members of the group (Nathan Parkinson, Tom Roe and Zachary Hunt) but now thanks to a recent Kickstarter they’ve recruited two other actors (Miztli Rose, Andrea Nodroum, both superb throughout), a band to provide the music, and have the money for an impressive set and selection of costumes, all of which means that it’s not only astonishingly funny but it looks and sounds stunning too.

Not that they aren’t adverse to low budget silliness at times, one action scene involves a number of toy dolls, while there’s the use of a musical instrument that was presumably bought from a pound shop that had the audience in hysterics. And silliness is the order of the day in general in this loving homage to eighties cop movies and tv shows, where our hero Jimmy Johnson vows to be the best damn police cop there ever was, teaming up with the retired Harrison to defeat a drug kingpin who has ruled over their town for a long, long time.

All of which may make it sound akin to a Naked Gun style affair but there’s so much more going on here than mere parody. The plot leaps around all over the place, and part of the joy is just how unpredictably daft it is, I want to mention every single thing that made me laugh hard in this review but that would spoil the fun. The cast all take on a number of wonderfully odd characters, the word play is never less that consistently delightful, while the physical comedy took my breath away and I can’t even begin to guess as to how many hours they needed to rehearse to perform it in what seems like an effortless manner.

The songs are also sublime, I’m a passionate musicals fan and this is right up there with the best ever made, and I truly hope that the soundtrack is released to download at some point. Hell, I hope a movie version is made, as I’d cherish the chance this kind of comic madness on the big screen. As it is, Police Cops The Musical deserves to run and run in the West End, the old cliché is that you should beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket for a great show, but I’d add in committing grand larceny or even murder (if you know any evil drug lords at least) as this has easily leapt in to the top three comedy shows I’ve ever seen and is an absolute must see.

★★★★★ (though I want to give it 6, damnit).

Alex Finch.

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Related Links:
Police Cops Official Site.
You can see Police Cops The Musical at the New Diorama Theatre until 23rd December.

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