Tag Archives: Tom Roe



Southwark Playhouse Elephant

POLICE COPS: THE MUSICAL at Southwark Playhouse Elephant


“It’s great to see how this company has grown and thrived, and have created this polished and dynamic production”

Police Cops began as three men – Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson and Tom Roe, with a shared comic vision. It has since sky rocketed through multiple versions, expanded to a cast of five and arrived at this slick operation.

The plot is deliberately ridiculous. Jimmy Johnson (Hunt) a 1980s American teen, dreams of being the best damn police cop ever. He is joined by familiar figures – a maverick partner, a by-the-book boss, a small-town high school sweetheart – and some less familiar ones, for example, a beekeeper in a morph suit who has an unhealthy interest in his bees.

The vibe smacks a little of student fringe show – with moments of improv and intentionally rubbish props. But it is incredibly slick. The performances are flawless, with impeccable comic timing and impressive choreography (by Matt Cole) and graceful stunts.

The concept, as well as the book and lyrics, are written by Hunt, Parkinson and Roe – and there is an effortlessness to their on-stage chemistry which shows how long they’ve worked together. However, both Melinda Orengo and Natassia Bustamante also shine. Orengo has a beautiful voice, confidently smashing the musical numbers. Bustamante is a particularly strong dancer, as well as having genuinely scene stealing stage presence. Of course, much of the comic heart lies with the three men, with Roe happily improvising speeches, Parkinson popping up with the most memorable one liners and Hunt really killing his solos.

Andrew Exeter’s set is simple, with the band raised above a huge neon sign reading Police Cops. Exeter’s lighting is impressive, highlighting comic moments and amping up the drama. Ben Adams’ music is the beating heart of this production, and really allows the comedy to sparkle.

It’s a fun show, occasionally lumbered by its own plot. For the length of production there does need to be a plot, but it’s difficult when something is deliberately formulaic. The show is best when it leans into the silly characters and prop gags and luckily it does that for the majority of the time. It’s great to see how this company has grown and thrived, and have created this polished and dynamic production.

POLICE COPS: THE MUSICAL at Southwark Playhouse Elephant

Reviewed on 14th March 2024

by Auriol Reddaway

Photography by Pamela Raith


Earlier Police Cops reviews:

POLICE COPS: BADASS BE THEY NAME | ★★★★ | VAULT Festival | February 2023
POLICE COPS | ★★★★ | VAULT Festival | January 2019


Previously reviewed at this venue:

CABLE STREET – A NEW MUSICAL | ★★★ | February 2024
BEFORE AFTER | ★★★ | February 2024
AFTERGLOW | ★★★★ | January 2024
LIZZIE | ★★★ | November 2023
MANIC STREET CREATURE | ★★★★ | October 2023
THE CHANGELING | ★★★½ | October 2023
RIDE | ★★★ | July 2023
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS … | ★★★★★ | May 2023
STRIKE! | ★★★★★ | April 2023
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH | ★★★★ | March 2023



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Police Cops

Police Cops: Badass Be Thy Name


VAULT Festival



Police Cops

“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”

Vault Festival 2023


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


Click here to read all our latest reviews