Cops by Tony Tortora: Southwark Playhouse, London: to 1st February 2020: **. Mark Courtice



Writer  Tony Tortora
Director & Dramaturg  Andy Jordan
Set & Costume Designer  Anthony Lamble
Composer & Sound Designer  Simon Slater
Lighting Designer  Chris Corner
Assistant Director/Assistant Producer  Timothy Trimingham Lee

Produced by Andy Jordan Productions Ltd and Pluto Productions Ltd


Cops, Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London , SE1 6BD

15 January – 1 February 2020

Monday -Saturday at 8pm
Tuesday & Saturday at 3.30pm

2 hours including interval.

Box office:
020 7407 0234,


Review: Mark Courtice 17.01.2020

Tony Tortora’s new play is set in a precinct house in 1950s Chicago; these are the days when cops are all men, have nicknames that end in “y” and problems at home; the days when detectives exist on a diet of cigarettes and coffee, and when casual racism, sexism and violence are the norm.

There’s a rogue cop in the precinct. It could be the old stager, or the brash fast-track youngster, the mid-career timeserver or the kind-hearted lieutenant with a tragic back story. Although we find out who it is by the end, this isn’t a play about crime, gangs and corruption, but about the detectives, their problems and relationships.

Andy Jordan’s production struggles with a play structured round long duologues so it gets bogged down in a lot of talk. It’s not just the “whodunit” tension, there are other omissions – for example there are no women, uniforms, or even crooks here.

Anthony Lamble’s set economically sets up the office and a stakeout location, but the rank of desks doesn’t help with the static feel. The phones, notice boards and littered desks are familiar cop show staples. The overall effect is much helped by Robbie Butler’s moody but precise lighting and Simon Slater’s apposite sound score.

The performances (often hampered by the play’s lumbering characterisation) are more workmanlike than inspiring, with Roger Alborough’s Stan carrying a good part of the load. His long stories, each with their own moral, contrast with Jack Flammiger’s Foxy, a wannabe Elvis who lacks anything approaching morals. Both get some form of resolution by the end, but despite everyone’s best efforts this 50s throwback has little to offer today’s audience. So much has changed in the last 70 years; here it’s the clichés of the cop drama that remain the same.


Stan (Harry Stanton)  Roger Alborough,

Foxy (William Fox)  Jack Flammiger,

Rosey (Roosevelt Washington)  Daniel Francis
Hurley (Joseph Hurley)  Ben Keaton

Eulee (Paul Ulasiewicz)  James Sobol Kelly


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