It’s 1990s Manchester, at the height of the Manchester rave scene. Clubbers are being killed by vampires on the orders of Satan himself. The police don’t want to get involved. Manchester’s night life can only be saved by Tommy (a call centre worker by day, Mad-For-It clubber by night) and Father Badass, a defrocked priest.
Badass Be Thy Name is the third new Fringe show in three years from by the award-winning Police Cops company (they perform last year’s show Police Cops in Space immediately after this one). Having seen their first show two years ago, it’s clear from the size of the venue that Edinburgh loves them. Its comedy designed for drunken students, with its pop culture references, ridiculous homemade props and occasional naked arses. But despite the ridiculous script and ramshackle performance this is a sophisticated show with complicated choreography and high energy performances. It’s also VERY funny.
There are some well judged parodies: kitchen sink drama, Billy Elliot, Trainspotting and The Matrix all make an appearance. One brilliant scene has Satan summoning some stage school students (“oh, children of The Stardust Academy… where are you?…”) to explain a plot point through the medium of a self-devised play. It is spot on – simultaneously awful and hilarious.
The Police Cops cast have grown enough in confidence to revel in the mistakes. And with a cast of three playing all the characters we get a lot of them: half completed costume changes, forgotten lines, and lots of corpsing. At one point an actor has to break character to admit he has forgotten a prop. He simply goes off to fetch it and the scene resumes. The errors add to the madness, and the audience lap it up.
Badass Be Thy Name is the perfect antidote to a soggy day traipsing around the Edinburgh Fringe, watching earnest issue-based shows. It’s like a shot of espresso with eight sugars. If I were you I’d book the double bill and go home happy.
You can see Police Cops: Badass Be Thy Name at Assembly George Square Studios until 25th August at 21:20. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com