by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst
The Pretend Men return with a ridiculous sequel to their action-packed police parody. Don’t worry if you missed the first one – you should still get a ticket to this! Done with parodying cop shows, we now get references to The Terminator, Blade Runner and Star Wars – to name but a few of the references.
In this edition, we meet Jimmy Johnson’s son, Sammy. After the death of his father at the hands of evil robot Tanner, Sammy must overcome his self-esteem and alcohol issues to become a police cop and avenge his father’s death. Cue a journey through space bars looking for a pilot, to a training montage with an ex-cop (who *loves* his mop), to the final showdown with a big baddie.
The actors play a dizzying array of characters, switching costumes and jumping between scenes at an incredible speed. The jokes come thick and fast, and range from the cheesy to the sublime to the ridiculous. At one point Tom Roe seemingly ad-libs the entirety of the verbose villain’s victory speech – to rapture from the audience and obvious amusement from the rest of the cast.
The low-budget special effects are excellent throughout. Glow sticks become a motorcycle and the blasts from a ray gun. The jump to light-speed is a light-up skipping rope. A glove with two fingers cut off serves as a gun – with hilarious sound effects attached. The effort and imagination is exhausting, but the performers never show any signs of slowing down.
This is a brilliant low-budget lo-fi parody, performed by a likeable and engaging cast. Recommended.
Police Cops in Space runs through 4 February.
The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.