I helped my mom a little in the costuming of her play Pirates of Penzance- The Little Rascals. Wow! costume prices add up fast. Especially when you have 10 to 15 cops, boys and girls, that all need outfitted to look as much alike as possible. Here are some ideas and the places to find cop or constable costumes for the play Pirates of Penzance.
The following links are affiliate links, they are suggestions of the best prices I have found on the web.
A suite that suites
The first and probably most expensive part of this costume is the suite. One cheap way is to check used stores and find cheap old suites that could be remodeled into cop suites. This is done by sewing gold trim around the cuffs and on the shoulders helps to dress it up. Adding a few gold buttons helps too. The problem with this is it’s a lot of time and the chances of finding matching suites for cheap at a thrift store are basically zilch.
Another option is to sew. My Mom has access to some great seamstresses so they actually sewed all the cops suites! I must say they turned out great, They where simple pants and jackets with gold trim. It worked great because there where a lot of girls playing cops and the costumes where more taylored. If you have the time, know how, and a few people that know how to sew this is the perfect way to go. All you need is some really cheap dark blue cloth, a little on the heavier side is better, and some gold trim and buttons
I know though when if actually comes down to the crunch time and your just looking for a costume it’s really nice to just be able to buy the costume, even if it’s more expensive, and get it over with. It’s also nice to know that all the costumes will be the same style because it looks so much sharper. So here is a link to the cheapest constable suite I was able to find.
It’s hard to want to put so much money into one costume, but if you have space to store costumes, cop suits are some of the most versatile costumes. You can use them over and over for different plays. I’ve even used one of these costumes for a Yankee Civil War Soldier all we did was add a hat. Besides tons of plays have a cop or two in the cast.
The constable hat
A keystone cop costume would not be a keystone cop costume with out the hat. So here are some links to some hats on Amazon. This on is nice and cheap, but it’s built for children. Some of the reviews said it could fit on small adults, so if you have a lot of small girls playing cops this is the ideal way to go.
But, if you just need some adult size one you’ll just have to gulp and cough it up, (the money I mean) These hats are definitley nicer, they can adjust size and are made of a heavy felt, reviews say they look very nice on stage too.
This one here has a chin strap and is a little cheaper. However, there aren’t any review yet, so there’s no way to know how good it actually is.
Unless you are incorperating the whistle into the dance routines of the cops then the seargent is probably the only one who needs a whistle. This is an authentic British police whistle and for nearly $15 it better be good!
But if you just want a regular cheap whistle that will get the job done this is a pack of two but it would work nicely.
I personally love the look of the cops having mustaches. But that is entirely up to the director. Here is a link to some mustaches on Amazon, the reviews said the sticking power was better then most. Still, unless you get really good ones the mustaches fall off and also get in the way of talking. So if your not really picky about details and want your actors to feel more comfortable I would suggest drawing them on. This really helps if you have girls playing boys parts.
It’s really cheap and easy. What I like to use is eye liner pencils, the cheaper the better, becuase you will need A LOT of them! All you do is draw a mustache in what ever style you want. When the play is over it comes of easily with make up wipes, remover, baby oil, or vasaline.
In Pirates of Penzance everyone put their own mustaches on, by the last performance some of those mustaches where very creative to say the least! One young man drew complicated swirls that looks a lot like it might have come from The Hunger Games. It was neat becuase it let each person take a relativly small part and add their own personal, memorable twist to it.
The boots are probably not as important as other parts of the costume, because they are mostly covered by the pant leg. So if your trying to cut costs this might be the place. However, having all the cops have matvching shiny boots will really add some class.
When I was helping my mom I found the women’s winter boots on clearance at K Mart they where a sort of rubber boot, but really shiny, they worked perfect. We where able to get the cops and pirates all boots for around $200. After the play I snagged me a few pair of the boots because they where so cute! So don’t forget to keep your eye out for clearance deals when looking for costumes. These are almost exactly like the boots we used for our cops, but we got a screaming deal, because they where on clearance.
Because they where women’s boots they dind’t have big enough boots for the boys that where cops. The boys ended up wearing black mudboots. These whern’t as shiny but still had the same look. So, mud boots are an option too. Shiny black spray paint might give dull mud boots a shine. Here are some other options.
The Copper Bopper
This police stick is the perfect touch to a keystone cop. It is really cute to add into the dance numbers too. Also a review on this particular police baton says they are light weight so you don’t have to worry so much about someone getting hurt.
Finishing touch- white gloves
Gloves really aren’t that necessary, but they do give a sort of sophistication to the costume. If you really want to go all out this is the way to go.
There, you have all the ingredients for a great keystone cop costume. Just remember, when you put alot of money into a costume try to think a little further down the road. Ask yourself how could I later repurpose this costume so I can get my money’s worth. It helps you not feel so bad shelling out the big bucks knowing for a costume whn you might use it again.
I hope you found this usefull. Let me know in the comments what you think and if there is another costume you would like me to find.