POLICE COPS: BADASS BE THEY NAME at the VAULT Festival
“the physical comedy and the easy rapport with the audience is what we’re all there for.”
Comedy trio Police Cops (Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson and Tom Roe) are on a nationwide tear with their latest show Badass Be Thy Name. And to judge from the packed space at the VAULT Festival last night, their audiences can’t get enough of them. With an hour of fast paced comic situations, sight gags, and ingenious costumes—these guys pull off (and pull down) their particular brand of humour with flair. They also pull it off with a bare minimum of staging.
The plot is also barely there. Badass Be Thy Name is a confused mix of a 1990s northern bloke comedy about a man leaving his soul crushing telemarketing job for more meaningful encounters in the Manchester clubbing scene. We know this won’t end well, right? Especially as there has been a series of mysterious murders of young men in the vicinity of the Hacienda Club where Tommy goes to dance away his troubles. In the midst of a medley of good music and even better drugs, (and lots of references to popular culture of the time) our hero encounters the mysterious Father Badass of St. Bartholomew’s. Badass is the man who swoops in to rescue him from a bunch of vampires, and inspires Tommy to sign on to the vampire busting team. From there Badass Be Thy Name devolves into a tale of runaway fathers, and bum baring stepfathers (and other father figures). Tommy and Father Badass take on the lord of the vampires, Satan himself, as Satan attempts to find a portal into 1990s Manchester in a search for better sweets. Does the plot make sense? Not really. But then it doesn’t have to. Because the physical comedy and the easy rapport with the audience is what we’re all there for.
Hunt, Parkinson and Roe switch characters and situations with breathtaking speed. They often flub their lines, corpse, or just give up and give the audience the side eye when they trip themselves up in the scene they’re presenting. Again, it doesn’t matter. It all just makes the audience laugh harder. And their brand of gangly undergraduate humour is what keeps this madcap tale afloat. There are also some genuinely inventive moments involving costumes that become vending machines, socks that become swords (you have to be there) and ziplines. The ziplines are there to deliver action figure stand ins into epic fight situations when the constraints of the Vaults can’t give these guys the Hollywood blockbuster ending they’re searching for. A lot of Police Cops’ appeal is that they give the audience’s imaginations a workout as well.
Badass Be Thy Name is an hour of fast paced fun that will appeal to audiences in search of a nostalgic trip to an imagined Manchester in 1999. Go for the awful puns, references to Lord of the Rings (the earlier, animated one) and some wildly anachronistic, self referential jokes about writing a play and putting it on. There’s something for everyone.
Reviewed on 10th February 2023
by Dominica Plummer
“The sense of fun is infectious, and we therefore forgive, even encourage, the corpsing and occasional adlibbing as they try sometimes to trip each other up”
READ THE 2019 POLICE COPS REVIEW BY CLICKING HERE
More VAULT Festival reviews:
Caceroleo | ★★★★ | January 2023
Cybil Service | ★★★★ | January 2023
Butchered | ★★★★ | January 2023
Intruder | ★★★★ | January 2023
Thirsty | ★★★★★ | February 2023
Kings of the Clubs | ★★★ | February 2023
Gay Witch Sex Cult | ★★★★★ | February 2023
Love In | ★★★★ | February 2023
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