Returning to the Fringe following a sell-out run in 2019, Police Cops return with a farcical adventure that manages to consistently shock and surprise you. The electric atmosphere, capturing Manchester’s rave scene complete with pill-popping and a vampire-infested armageddon, makes for an absolute riot of a show. For all the feverish, frantic changes and unpredictable moments of apparent improv, Badass Be Thy Name is a show focused around one singular goal: to leave the audience in tears of laughter. And they succeed.
The storyline is nonsensical, if blissfully easy to follow, and manages to set up one great joke after another. Even those gags that feel tired or cliched (even bordering on dad jokes) are delivered with such self-awareness and energy that you cannot help but laugh. It feels like Blade II was dipped in a vat of Mancunian acid and left to fester to a mixture of Prodigy and The Matrix soundtrack. It is relentlessly stylish, with DIY touches just adding to the comedy in zany, erratic ways, and while it can seem a little pointless you will be enjoying yourself far too much to care.
The performers are all incredible, at times just challenging one another to see how far they can go while keeping a straight face (they regularly fail). Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson, and Tom Roe effortlessly and sometimes inventively swap between a host of different characters, including the titular Badass. Their dynamic is fantastic, with all the timing and aplomb of three very practised comedy performers. They are endlessly impressive, managing to make everything from immature wordplay to a peculiar obsession with The Rugrats equally entertaining. It is a sensational showcase of talent.
Wretchedly funny, awesome to look at and featuring some standout acting, Badass Be Thy Name tells you everything you need to know about why Police Cops have become such a success. They are side-splittingly funny, approaching their comedy with belief and something resembling intelligence below all the bizarre antics. This is a show to savour.