Soho Theatre, Soho, London, 01/02/2020
Police Cops have been going for several years now and produced a few acclaimed shows, and yet until this weekend I’d never seen them, which is something I now regret a huge amount. Perhaps they’ll one day restage their earlier shows or film them for a service like NextUp, but if not I’ll forever find myself pretty annoyed that I missed them as their latest hour is a hilarious, mad, yet utterly sublime piece of silliness.
An hour long comedy play, it’s set in Manchester in 1999 and sees Father Badass (Nathan Parkinson) disturbed by the increase in the number of vampire attacks in the city, while a young teenager played by Tom Roe struggles to find his place in life, bored senseless with his telesales job and the shitty home life he has to suffer through. Then one night he’s almost attacked by a vampire when Father Badass saves his life, with the latter being surprised that Tom can see the vampires when so few others can.
What follows is a gloriously silly romp where the group take on a number of characters, there’s some beautifully inventive use of props (with a watercooler moment being pretty unforgettable), while the devil (Zachary Hunt) pops up and turns out to be the leader of the vampires and comes complete with a song explaining why he’s wanting to take over Manchester. Indeed the song’s so good that it’s something I want them to release as a single, not just so that I can buy it and listen to it whenever I want but also so I can start a campaign to get it to number one so that they achieve the fame they richly deserve.
Along with all of the above there’s some inspired action sequences, many gorgeously daft gags, the truly unforgettable character Mr Bumbum, a few quite unique references to a couple of classic films, unpredictable plot twists, a number of playful genre parodies (with the devil’s origin story being told from the perspective of some GCSE drama students being a real highlight), a dash of improvisation and throwaway quips, and an almost ridiculous amount of hilarious dialogue delivered in a joyful manner
It might not be the most cerebral of comedy but you won’t care in the slightest given how hard it will make you laugh, Hunt, Parkinson and Roe are all accomplished comedians and masters of physical comedy, and they’ve produced something which is enormously memorable. Police Cops have instantly become a group of comedians who I’ll see whatever they produce next, and if those pesky scientists ever get around to creating a time travel machine the first thing I’d do is head back to the past to see their previous shows.
Police Cops Official Site.