nytheatre.com review by Ivanna Cullinan
October 6, 2007
These highly amusing clowns come by way of Catalonia, with enough English and more than enough talent to be understood and enjoyed by all. Full of classic set-ups while also ready to improvise when a moment skids sideways, this talented trio explores a variety of archetypal cop stories. Unlike the Keystone Cops, they have a marvelously non-frenetic pace that allows all to enjoy the absurdity.
The set-ups start early in the setting up of the stage, as each character and his place in the hierarchy is established. Small behaviors and conflicts will come back later, will be built upon and some even exorcised, providing laughter throughout. There is a narrator who announces the scene—only when the stage has been set properly. While this does not actually seem to concern his eminence much, the other two go to increasingly difficult lengths to get it just so—despite each other and the strange energy the space seems to develop as things thrown in one direction sometimes return from directions that would seem physically impossible. The dynamics of the theatrical are as much the core of this show as are the variety of classic cop scenarios. Although warned at the top that their set was for a more traditionally proscenium stage, their commitment to "a huge pile of things just collapsed!......behind this two foot wide curtain" did work and increased the silliness. "The Interrogation," "The Mafia," et al owe as much of their humor to the things happening when trying to put on the story as the story itself. These storylines are not continuous, but the characters are and these clowns fill every situation with some form of joy.
As I said earlier, it is all at a slightly lower level of energy than I am used to in this kind of work, but done with an ease and a surety of what needed to happen that made it incredibly comfortable to watch. There is a moment of audience interaction and the person pulled up to be interrogated could not be in better hands or more solidly set up to succeed. He was completely part of the scene but in no way responsible for it, and instead gently buffeted by the antics around him. At another point, the simplest character came into the audience and rather than barreling through or demanding space, stayed at his status level and frantically went through the audience but avoided bumping into or assaulting folks. There is great mayhem, thoughtfully conceived.
When it comes to hilarity on the trail of laughter, these Cops are on the up and up.