Tag Archives: Ben Lancaster



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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Mythic – 4 Stars



Charing Cross Theatre

Reviewed – 8th October 2018


“A likeness to Hamilton comes to mind for the opening number, It’s A Myth, with its element of a sung/spoken narrative”


The relationship between mother and daughter can be quite a complicated one. Even more tricky to navigate when you are both immortal Gods. In new pop/rock musical Mythic by Marcus Stevens (book/lyrics) and Oran Eldor (music/orchestrations), this is just the case. A wittily-written, modern twist on thousand year old Greek myths, turns the Gods into rock stars, Hollywood royalty, It-girls and power-mad politicians – the type of celebrities that we are consumed by in the 21st-century. Mythic is a fun-filled, energetically infectious show that gives old tales a fresh retelling.

Demeter, Goddess of the Earth and harvest, has spent the last thousand years exiled from Olympus, where the other Gods hang out, due to having such boring, inadequate powers. Now, living mainly among mortals and her harvest nymphs, she has come to appreciate her life away from the party-going, drama-filled, celebrity culture of the Gods. Her daughter Persephone, however, doesn’t see it that way. She feels suffocated by boredom, living the life of a recluse. Spending her time reading magazines about the other Gods, she daydreams how the other half lives. She wants to find her own path. One day Persephone’s had enough and decides to gatecrash Zeus’ party on Mount Olympus. After bumping into party girl Aphrodite, she finds her way into the heart of the celebrations. It doesn’t take long before she has caught the eye of the bad boy of Gods, Hades, a misunderstood soul, who inadvertently traps her in the Underworld. Mythic turns into a tale of finding yourself, the endurance of a mother’s love, and inner courage that speaks to both ancient and modern times.

Georgie Westall as Persephone is certainly one to watch for the future, showing real personality yet truthfulness within her delivery. Much can be said the same for Daniella Bowen playing her mother Demeter, whose comic timing, particularly in the song What Mother’s Have to Do, comes across natural and unforced. Strong performances are executed from the whole cast. Even the ensemble are given individual moments to shine and stand out, which is rare.

A simple yet effective use of set and costumes, designed by Lee Newby, offers an amalgamation of ancient influences with modern-day edginess that helps to define the shows theme of reinvention.

The songs that feature definitely help to drive the story forward rather than bringing it to a halt. They aren’t the most memorable tunes in the world, but nevertheless, there most certainly isn’t any that seem weak, and it enables the cast to show off their belting chops. Stevens’ book and lyrics are laden with chuckle worthy material, even if lyrics at times are simplistic and one-dimensional. A likeness to Hamilton comes to mind for the opening number, It’s A Myth, with its element of a sung/spoken narrative, regaling the history of the Greek Gods.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining new musical that has the potential to move onto bigger venues and reach larger audiences.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Marc Brenner



Charing Cross Theatre until 24th November


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Harold and Maude | ★★★★ | February 2018
It Happened in Key West | ★★ | July 2018


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