When a Fringe show sells out on opening night, you know it's doing something right.
An explosively entertaining show.
The plot is a mish-mash of all the best, most recognisable archetypes from cinema, all with a surreal and futuristic twist. It follows Sammi Jonson, the world's last Police Cop, trying to live up to his father's legacy as a diabolical robot army looks set to take over the universe. There are also ancient prophecies, loser pilots, and a dancing competition standing in his way. The quick-fire humour and superb multi-roling add a lot to the mix, as each comedian jumps between countless caricatures, going on endless digressions and clearly having a great time in the hilarious, sloppy world they've created. The fun is completely infectious.
Though aggressively lo-tech, the humour is all the more accessible for it, and laughs come easily. The Pretend Men make do with a mess of chairs, mops, cardboard, and an etch-a-sketch, aiming low and somehow ending up with something glorious. Gloves stand in for guns; actors shout their own sound effects; light-up skipping ropes replace light-speed travel. But it works. With nods to Blade Runner, Terminator, Star Wars, Ghost and The Karate Kid – to name but a few – Police Cops In Space manages to produce a rollicking patchwork of cinematic satire quite literally duct-taped into an hour-long show.
There are some sloppier or more forgettable moments, whether that's the odd weak joke, a fluffed entrance, or some unpolished choreography, but The Pretend Men's scruffy charm is also what keeps audiences coming back, and these criticisms are minor in what is otherwise an explosively entertaining show.