Last year’s triumphant Police Cops in Space earned five star reviews and sell-out runs. Now Nathan Parkinson, Zachary Hunt and Tom Roe, the multi award-winning trio behind the hits Police Cops and its sequel Police Cops in Space, have returned to The Warren with Badass Be Thy Name. Luckily they're back in fine form, with this latest production switching genre from away from sci-fi and embracing everything horror has to offer. Vampires, treacle streams and Kung Fu...We’re in B-movie heaven.
You'll be hard pushed to find a more enjoyable hour
We're taken back to Manchester, 1999. Badass Be Thy Name follows our abandoned hero through the mundane of office life and Friday night pints, before the revelation that…he sees dead people. Fights, puns and musical numbers delivered by the devil develop at breakneck speed. A handful of performers provide what feels like 400 characters, transforming a shipping container stage into a blockbuster movie set. Film references from Blade through to The Matrix and Trainspotting are hit brilliantly and consistently, with everyone in attendance in stitches from start to finish. Fight scenes are executed perfectly with both skill and humour, while costume changes, the use of props and the overall tight space barely leave room to breathe. The hit rate of gags (scripted or otherwise) is dangerously comparable to a live performance of Airplane!
The show is a work in progress, but this only plays in favour of the performers, who seamlessly blend in forgotten lines and technical glitches. Are these cock-ups part of the show? We don’t care. It’s a joyous, well produced, well-performed hour, and although it may lack polish, this only adds to the charm. Yes, proceedings are silly, but never does it fall into the pit of pointlessly surreal.
Nathan, Zahary and Tom seem to have another hit on their hands - and if you missed them at Brighton Fringe, there's another chance to catch them in August at Assembly. This could certainly be one to watch for awards this summer - it's already a superb show at work in progress stage.
If rapid fire gags and 90s movies are your thing, you'll be hard pushed to find a more enjoyable hour at this year’s festival.