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Good Cop Bad Cop, Moors Bar Theatre – Review

Primley Road Productions
Directed by Adam Jarrell
★★★

Pros: Some great laughs and good performances all round.

Cons: Sometimes I got lost in the plot, but the laughs made up for it.

Our Verdict: Very funny show, worth a see. Promising first performance.

Courtesy of Primley Road Productions

Stashed away in Crouch End, the Moors Bar Theatre is more of a long room with a bar at the side and a stage at the end than a traditional venue. Access to the facilities is limited to before and after the show (you have to cross the stage to use the bathroom) but maybe this is an excellent ploy to keep an audience in their seats. You should definitely stay in your seat for Good Cop Bad Cop – miss a moment and you’ll regret it… but you’ll also get horribly lost in an absurd plot!

The stage is set for us to observe while we await the start of the performance. A poster which bears the acronym L.A.P.D. is prominently displayed and a playlist of songs about California underscores our purchase of drinks – I was very pleased when I noticed that link in the music. A very nice touch.

The show starts and brilliantly undercuts all that set-up. The first laugh of the show, nice and early, sets the tone for the rest of the performance. We are first introduced to Alan, an officer with aggression issues (played by Jason Denyer) who instructs his new partner how to conduct an interview with a suspect. Jonathan (Adam Alexander) is a great nervous character, who is thrust into the role of ‘bad cop’ by his hostile partner. A lot of the laughs are found in this mismatched allocation of roles. The pair are joined by the detainee Joe (Luke Stevenson) – who remains silent for a long time, munching Wotsits from his breast pocket.

When Joe does speak a new energy is injected into the show – Stevenson’s character flips everything on its head and continues to do so for the rest of the play. His absurd character is charmingly written and Stevenson’s delivery of the text is fantastic – he has a great command of some very long speeches and the energy never drops on his watch. Denyer’s timing and energy is also great, with just the right level of “shouty comedy” which I personally enjoy. Alexander’s physical performance is top notch. Jonathan’s awkward attempts to be aggressive fail spectacularly. The small space lends itself well to Alexander’s performance as shoes and bags ricochet of the walls.

The plot is simply bonkers. The narrative arc makes little to no sense but its hard to care. It’s a lovely first play by Primley Road – if the writing was tightened slightly it would be a formidable piece of comedy. There are some great lines and turns of phrase already – I wrote the words “thunder-proof” on my hand mid-performance as I have big plans to introduce it into my everyday vocabulary. One of my favourite moments is the rendition of “How Deep Is Your Love?” the trio perform together.

No matter how much fun you have in rehearsal you never know how comedy will be received until you put it in front of an audience. This evening showed that Good Cop Bad Cop has the potential to be a very good farce – a lot of laughs, a lot of my horrible loud guffaw! I would love to see this re-staged once the narrative catches up to the comedy – there were times I lost track of what was at stake in a given moment – but it was a very enjoyable evening nevertheless. Putting the show in front of the public is great help for actors, who can learn where to ride laughs or tighten up a conversation to keep the pace. This is a very promising start from Primley Road, I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Good Cop Bad Cop runs until 20th November 2013 at The Moors Bar Theatre.
Box Office:020 83484161 or book online at ticketline.co.uk/good-cop-bad-cop

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