“Buddy Cop 2” Is a Delightful Dark Comedy

Dana Marks and Lucius Robinson star as Darlene and Terry in "Buddy Cop 2" (photo by Kevin Ewert)
Dana Marks and Lucius Robinson star as Darlene and Terry in "Buddy Cop 2" (photo by Kevin Ewert)

Dana Marks and Lucius Robinson star as Darlene and Terry in "Buddy Cop 2" (photo by Kevin Ewert)
Dana Marks and Lucius Robinson star as Darlene and Terry in "Buddy Cop 2" (photo by Kevin Ewert)

Durham, NC-based Manbites Dog Theater will present the regional premiere of Buddy Cop 2, written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen and originally directed and developed by Oliver Butler for The Debate Society of Brooklyn, NY, on June 16-19 and 22-25. Manbites Dog guest director Kevin Ewert will stage this delightful dark 2010 comedy, set in 1982 in the small heartland town of Shandon, IN, with an all-star cast that includes Evgenia Madorsky as Brandi and Skylar, Dana Marks as Darlene Novak, Jay O’Berski as Don McMurchie, and Lucius Robinson as Terry Olsen. Novak, McMurchie, and Olsen are police officers; Skylar is a frail 12-year-old girl; and Brandi is the Governor’s 13-year-old daughter.

When it comes to Buddy Cop 2, Manbites Dog says, “Nothing is what it seems. Or is it …? [Buddy Cop 2 is] a comedic action/mystery of holiday nostalgia and athletic rigor.”

According to Samuel French, Inc.:

“Two cops … in the kind of quiet little town where a kid dreams of growing up to be a fireman. Or a racecar driver. Where the only question you ask yourself at the end of the day is if you’re gonna knock back your cold one at Swanky’s, Spanky’s, or Zingers.

“[It’s] A town where neighbors pitch in to help neighbors in need, and where if you wake up in the middle of the night … you should keep your eyes closed. Because the man in red is there in the corner. Watching you. Smiling at you with his yellow eyes and black teeth. [It’s] Best to pretend you’re still asleep.

“In this comedic action/mystery of holiday nostalgia and athletic rigor, when a flood destroys the police station, the local cops set up shop in the nearby community center. Mysteries emerge. Criminals are chased. Racquetball is played. In this town, nothing is what it seems … or is it?”

In addition to director Kevin Ewert, who doubles as sound designer for the show, the Manbites Dog Theater creative team for Buddy Cop 2 includes original set designer Laura Jellinek; set adapters Laura Jellinek, Erik Benson, Kevin Ewert, David Berberian, and Jay O’Berski; lighting designer Rick Young; and stage manager Jennifer Evans.

In reviewing previous productions of Buddy Cop 2:

·         NYTheatre.com characterized the show as “Wonderfully entertaining. Funny, Charming, and perfectly pitched.”

·       Time Out New York awarded Buddy Cop 2 four stars, made it a Critics’ Pick, and described the show as “Wistful and sweet and uncanny. The delightful, oddly delicate Buddy Cop 2 is steeped in Christmas cheer.”

·       Back Stage notes: “Packed with nonchalant theatrics and smoldering intensity. [Hannah] Bos, [Paul] Thureen, and [Oliver] Butler have woven an accomplished yarn.”

·       The New York Times wrote: “Set in the 1980s, this downtown gem, full of minor-key revelations and offhand epiphanies, roots its quirky charm in an earnest and surprising realism. This charming, offbeat play from The Debate Society of Brooklyn is sneakily funny, but not at the expense of its characters, mumbling sweeties who play bingo, collect beer cans, and take pride in their work.”

SECOND OPINION: June 15th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Cliff Bellamy: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/14336160/article–Buddy-Cop-2–at-Manbites?instance=main_article (Note: You must register first to read this article).

Manbites Dog Theater presents BUDDY COP 2 at 8:15 p.m. June 16-18, 3:15 p.m. June 19, and 8:15 p.m. June 22-25 at 703 Foster St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $12 weeknights and $17 Friday-Saturday, except June 16th pay-what-you-can preview (door sales only, $5 minimum), $5 Student Rush Tickets, and $2 discount for seniors 62+ and active-duty military personnel.

BOX OFFICE: 919/682-3343 or https://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/356/.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/5/.


The Play: http://thedebatesociety.org/buddy-cop-2/ (The Debate Society) and http://www.samuelfrench.com/store/product_info.php/products_id/9051 (Samuel French, Inc.).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).