Good Cop Bad Cop | Kassys

Good Cop Bad Cop | KassysPhoto - Klaas Paradies

For seven long years the Housemates of Big Brother made their homes on Australian TV. We analysed their every action and interaction however trivial, as they themselves did in The Diary Room later. These Housemates sought approval from each other and the outside world, making them the ultimate attention seekers.

Liesbeth Gritter, Esther Snelder and Ton Heijligers from Dutch theatre company Kassys inhabit a big brother style living room, stripped of the power of speech. As the show progresses, their movement increasingly takes on the characteristics of two cats and a dog. They squat on the dining room table, play with little balls of paper and nuzzle each other playfully. These imitations of our pets are subtle and well observed without being exaggerated for laughs. They later reflect on their actions in the Diary Room which is filmed and projected onto the screen behind them. Large chunks of the play are silent, deepening the intrigue.

Are the Big Brother housemates the house pets of an entire nation? Is the life of a house pet, one big reality TV show? Good Cop Bad Cop could be viewed as presenting either one of these arguments. Perhaps it advocates both.

The programme notes say that the play is about how reality TV plays on our need for attention. Rather than presenting us as we really are it turns us into animals and therefore robs us of our dignity. The three people/pets analyse every action and reaction in the Diary Room afterwards and therefore become over sensitive. The show’s main target is obviously Big Brother and with the show axed from Australian screens in 2008 the impact is lessoned slightly. Only slightly as seven year of housemate’s antics (a disturbing thought in itself) have burnt the formula sufficiently into our brains.

The play could easily be interpreted as a day in the live of three household pets, which are later given the power of speech. Much observation has obviously gone into the way in which our pets play and attempt to make our homes their own.

It is hard to tell if Good Cop, Bad Cop, tells as more about us or our pets. Maybe there is not much difference between how humans and other animals interact. The potential for completely different interpretations arouses our curiosity and helps make this one of the more intriguing spectacles of the Sydney Festival 2011.

Sydney Festival 2011
Good Cop Bad Cop
by Kassys

Venue: Downstairs Theatre | Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Dates/Times: January 26, 28 and 30 at 7pm; January 26, 28 at 10pm; January 27, 29, 30 at 4pm
Duration: 60mins
Tickets: $30
Bookings: Seymour Centre 02 9351 7940 | Sydney Festival 1300 668 812 | Ticketmaster 1300 723 038

Brisbane Powerhouse
DATE Thu 10 – Sun 13 Feb 2011
TIME Thu – Fri 7.30pm, Sat 2pm + 7.30pm,
Sun 6.30pm
VENUE Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
TICKETS Full $29, Concession/Groups 5+ $22
Bookings 07 3358 8600 or
For more information call 07 3358 8600 or go to

Most read reviews

Bangalow Music Festival 2019

The Bangalow Music Festival, jewel of the classical music calendar of the Northern Rivers of NSW, has just had its 18th incarnation.

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts | shake and stir theatre co

Cleverly written and adapted from the Dahl poems, the show was slick and silly, funny and furiously paced throughout.

Rainbow’s End | Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Moogahlin Performing Arts

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has been a long time coming for the First Nations people of Australia.

Synthony and Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra

I have seen classic, contemporary and experimental takes on orchestra, as I am sure many others have too – but I doubt many have seen something quite as grandiose and extravagant as the wild ride that Synthony takes you on.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required