REVIEW: THE BACON KILLER (Theatre Utopia) ★★★

Set in a New York Police Department precinct house in the 1980’s, two intrepid murder squad police officers, Dick Whittington and Kimberly, are on the hunt for a dangerous cop killer.

The play is full of eighties US cop show bon ami and buddy buddy movie banter. It is a fast paced Starsky and Hutch for today. Kojak without the lollipops. Columbo without the raincoat.

It resembles The Play That Went Wrong, at least in so far as it is a play and it does go wrong. At the very start, the director regretfully informed the audience that most of the cast hadn’t turned up and that therefore, some of the actors would play more than one character. It was promised that it was going to be completely seamless and hardly noticeable. A somewhat hasty, misguided promise as it turned out.

The Dick Whittington’s stand-in was played by the delectable and talented Megan Jenkins wearing a deerstalker hat and a decidedly dodgy false moustache. Dick talked in a decidedly un-New York, cut glass English accent and also later, when Dick was called upon to play a different character, her South African accent hilariously let her down, being closer to Dublin than Durban. But she was a pleasure to both watch and listen to. Oh, and those devastating green eyes!

Dick Whittington’s male partner, Kimberly (one of many Kimberlys in the play) was played by Jamal Chong, Utopia’s founder. Jamal has got a wonderful, larger than life, personality and jollies the story along nicely.

As well as these two actors there were five further talented actors, all of whom took various goody and baddy parts, and, though I could not individually identify them as there was no programme for this show, Brian Chadrabrose, Tom McAdam, Anthony Portsmouth, Amy Toledano and Michael Alexander all successfully added to the mad, joyful chaos.

A member of the audience sitting next to me, (ok I reluctantly admit it, it was my mate Terry) was flirted with outrageously by one of the cast and then drenched when another of the cast’s mouth full of vodka, exploded out of the actor’s mouth forming a low level cloud of spat out alcohol around Terry’s head, much to the audience’s amusement. I was obviously protected by the West End Wilma, lucky fairy and stayed dry. Terry however, took it all in good part, and claims that it wasn’t really Vodka anyway.

One particularly funny section was when the props department had supposedly mixed up real, loaded, guns with fake ones with obvious but funny consequences. Not in the best possible taste but most enjoyable.

Croydon theatres seem to be a dying breed and need and deserve our support. The excellent Utopia Theatre in particular. I urge you to visit and, while you are there, try their reasonably priced large selection of drinks, tasty food and laid back atmosphere. You will not be disappointed and might even be lucky enough to share a table with the lovely, talented cast.

Reviewed by Graham Archer