Tag Archives: Ben Adams



Southwark Playhouse Elephant

POLICE COPS: THE MUSICAL at Southwark Playhouse Elephant


“It’s great to see how this company has grown and thrived, and have created this polished and dynamic production”

Police Cops began as three men – Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson and Tom Roe, with a shared comic vision. It has since sky rocketed through multiple versions, expanded to a cast of five and arrived at this slick operation.

The plot is deliberately ridiculous. Jimmy Johnson (Hunt) a 1980s American teen, dreams of being the best damn police cop ever. He is joined by familiar figures – a maverick partner, a by-the-book boss, a small-town high school sweetheart – and some less familiar ones, for example, a beekeeper in a morph suit who has an unhealthy interest in his bees.

The vibe smacks a little of student fringe show – with moments of improv and intentionally rubbish props. But it is incredibly slick. The performances are flawless, with impeccable comic timing and impressive choreography (by Matt Cole) and graceful stunts.

The concept, as well as the book and lyrics, are written by Hunt, Parkinson and Roe – and there is an effortlessness to their on-stage chemistry which shows how long they’ve worked together. However, both Melinda Orengo and Natassia Bustamante also shine. Orengo has a beautiful voice, confidently smashing the musical numbers. Bustamante is a particularly strong dancer, as well as having genuinely scene stealing stage presence. Of course, much of the comic heart lies with the three men, with Roe happily improvising speeches, Parkinson popping up with the most memorable one liners and Hunt really killing his solos.

Andrew Exeter’s set is simple, with the band raised above a huge neon sign reading Police Cops. Exeter’s lighting is impressive, highlighting comic moments and amping up the drama. Ben Adams’ music is the beating heart of this production, and really allows the comedy to sparkle.

It’s a fun show, occasionally lumbered by its own plot. For the length of production there does need to be a plot, but it’s difficult when something is deliberately formulaic. The show is best when it leans into the silly characters and prop gags and luckily it does that for the majority of the time. It’s great to see how this company has grown and thrived, and have created this polished and dynamic production.

POLICE COPS: THE MUSICAL at Southwark Playhouse Elephant

Reviewed on 14th March 2024

by Auriol Reddaway

Photography by Pamela Raith


Earlier Police Cops reviews:

POLICE COPS: BADASS BE THEY NAME | ★★★★ | VAULT Festival | February 2023
POLICE COPS | ★★★★ | VAULT Festival | January 2019


Previously reviewed at this venue:

CABLE STREET – A NEW MUSICAL | ★★★ | February 2024
BEFORE AFTER | ★★★ | February 2024
AFTERGLOW | ★★★★ | January 2024
LIZZIE | ★★★ | November 2023
MANIC STREET CREATURE | ★★★★ | October 2023
THE CHANGELING | ★★★½ | October 2023
RIDE | ★★★ | July 2023
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS … | ★★★★★ | May 2023
STRIKE! | ★★★★★ | April 2023
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH | ★★★★ | March 2023



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Rocky Horror Show

Brighton Theatre Royal

Rocky Horror Show

Rocky Horror Show

Brighton Theatre Royal

Reviewed – 18th December 2018


“It remains, at its heart, simply a bit of fun – and it delivers that in abundance


Since its debut in London in 1973, The Rocky Horror Show has been performed almost continuously across the world. The iconic 1975 film adaptation’s success and enduring appeal has sealed it firmly into the fabric of our modern pop culture. The Rocky Horror Show famously combines a ridiculous B-movie science fiction plot with comedy, horror and music.

The story begins with the engagement of Brad and Janet (played by Ben Adams of A1 and former Strictly professional Joanna Clifton), a wholesome all-American couple, who on their way to share their exciting news with their former college professor, Dr. Scott (Ross Chisari), drive into a thunderstorm. Following a tyre blow-out, they approach a nearby castle for assistance. It is a night they will remember for a very, very long time.

As their innocence is lost during one of the master’s affairs, Brad and Janet are introduced to an array of colourful characters. Clifton’s Janet is sweet, naïve and precious, which brings a gentle comedy to the character. Adams’ Brad is as ingenuous, but his desire to protect and control Janet only makes him more ridiculous.

Kristian Lavercombe has been playing Riff Raff the creepy butler for many years, and has notched up over 1,400 performances worldwide. It is an iconic role, originally played by the show’s writer and creator, Richard O’Brien, and is a fan favourite. Lavercombe’s interpretation is near on perfection. He is as deliciously grubby and sleazy as you could wish for. I hope he continues in the role for evermore.

Immoral and outrageous transvestite scientist, Frank n’ Furter has to steal the show. Stephen Webb, directed by Christopher Luscombe, is salacious and mischievous. At times, it feels as if there is too strong an emphasis on giving a depth to the character that is not entirely necessary.

Dom Joly presides as Narrator, who is traditionally heckled by the audience in an outrageously rude fashion. He does an adequate job of rebuffing the relentless jibes, but seemed to lack the repertoire of retorts that others have previously brought to the role.

Set designer, Hugh Durrant has created a background that is framed by an unfurling, giant reel of film. Frank n’Furter’s hallway gives us a gothic style that is reminiscent of a Hammer Horror movie. The lighting felt very fresh with dramatic use of green lasers during the laboratory scenes.

The Rocky Horror show is always a riot. The audience is packed with regulars who know the script and are not ashamed to shout out or stand up and dance. There is little regard for their fellow audience members and some may find it all too much. But, this is all part of the phenomenon and the experience. Its enduring popularity shows no signs of waning and its near constant presence means that it continues to be enjoyed by new audiences as well. It remains, at its heart, simply a bit of fun – and it delivers that in abundance.


Reviewed by Emma Gradwell


Rocky Horror Show

Brighton Theatre Royal until 5th January

then UK Tour continues




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