Brighton Fringe Festival is upon us! For the next few weeks, the city of Brighton will be transformed into a vibrant hub of creative energy and expression. Artists from all over the world will converge to showcase their talents and captivate audiences with their unique perspectives and performances. A show we are most looking forward to is POLICE COPS IN SPACE.
From theatre to dance, comedy to cabaret, and everything in between, the Brighton Fringe Festival offers something for everyone. With hundreds of events taking place across the city, there is no shortage of entertainment and inspiration to be found.
So whether you’re a seasoned Fringe-goer or a first-time visitor, get ready to immerse yourself in the exhilarating and unpredictable world of the Brighton Fringe Festival.
One of our Brighton Festival top picks is the highly entertaining show POLICE COPS IN SPACE by Zachary Hunt, Nathan Parkinson and Tom Roe; a three man multi award-winning comedy group from London.
After his father is killed by an evil robot, Sammy Johnson teams up an Alien pilot and his trusty Cyborg, embarking on an intergalactic adventure across the galaxy to find Earth, avenge his father and become the best damn police cop in space.
We caught up with Nathan to get a little insight into the process of making the hit comedy shows.
Can you tell me a bit about yourselves as individuals?
Police Cops are Nathan Parkinson (The tall one), Zak Hunt (The short one) and Tom Roe (The other one). Nathan had chronic fatigue as a teenager and is making up for it now by making the most high energy shows he can, he also has an estranged Oscar nominated Grandfather who he can’t name for legal reasons.
Zak is an Ex-Mormon who’s now rebelling against the corny, wholesome image of his yesteryears by getting really into musical theatre and listening repeatedly to Lord of the Rings on Audible (But only the Chapters in the Shire).
Tom first got into acting through his misspent youth participating in Tudor period historical re-enactment events. So aside from being a chick-magnet, Tom was spending his days dressed as a 16th century page and learning all sorts of fascinating historical facts. Ask him about the origin of the phrase ‘On the dole’ – you won’t be disappointed.
How did you meet and decide that comedy was something you wanted to venture into as a group?
We met at East 15 Drama School where we studied Acting & Contemporary Theatre. We did a comedy module in which we made a scene that was a parody of 80’s action movies (a rookie cop goes into a shady bar to persuade an old retired renegade cop to help him on a case). That went well and was super fun so when we graduated we decided to expand it into a full play.
How did you come up with the concept and name POLICE COPS?
As we were developing the play one of us said it by accident during an improv. It sounded silly so we thought ‘yeah, police cops, that’s what we can call our cops in the story, that’s funny and original’. Then we found out that The Simpsons already did it. Doh. I guess people will think they stole it from us… right?
Can you tell me about some of your first shows? How did they pave the way for you to get to where you are now?
We’ve learnt so much about making shows. Police Cops in Space suffered from a classic case of second album syndrome. We basically came up with a really convoluted story about Humans disguised as Robots disguised as Aliens. What could go wrong? After our preview we changed the whole storyline to something way more simple. So we’ve learnt a thing or two about story crafting and definitely something about joke writing. Take this corker of a joke from our very first draft of Police Cops: ‘Smoke hung in the air like washing on mama’s line…Coming Mama!’ That’s what we thought was a joke.
What is at the centre of your stage performances and is there any audience participation?
We usually have a chair in the centre of the stage. It’s good for scenes where a character needs to sit down. I hope other theatre-makers don’t read this and steal all our secrets. No audience participation. We’re far too egocentric for anyone else to share the spotlight.
Following the original Police Cops, how did you come up with Police Cops in Space and BADASS be thy name?
Police Cops in Space was inspired by a plug with a wire sticking out of it that Zak saw during our brainstorming session. He looked at it and then said ‘What about something with a Robot’. When genius like that strikes you have to go with it. It’s those moments that make you wonder, do we even come up with these things or are we a conduit through which a higher power is speaking?
Badass we were messing around doing a parody of a 90’s gritty social realism kind of thing. When the lines come really organically through parody we always think this could have legs.
Your upcoming musical Police Cops: The Musical is coming to theatre soon; how has your previous work contributed to the creation of the musical?
Well it’s an adaptation of our first show. So it’s the same main characters, same style and world. But it’s a totally different show. Way more ambitious, storyline is way more sophisticated and the jokes are way funnier (yes, even funnier than the mama’s washing joke!). By looping back and working on the original concept but with 10 years experience under your belt, you can create something you never could have created when we first started out. It’s like going back to the same bit of wall you measure yourself against as a kid to see how far you’ve grown. The Musical is like everything we’ve learnt up to now packed into one show.
I can see you’ve won lots of awards at Edinburgh Fringe, have you done Brighton Fringe before?
Yes we’ve done Brighton a few times. We always love coming to Brighton, the audiences are really our crowd and we always have great runs here. It’s super cool going from playing the smallest spaces Brighton fringe has to offer to playing the biggest. It’s been a real journey. We’ve made loads of friends with programmers from other venues who come to see the show and even were lucky enough to be seen by the programmer from Cape Town fringe a few years ago which resulted in us going to perform in South Africa 3 times.
What else are you looking forward to in Brighton during Fringe season?
So many great artists and shows to choose from! Super excited about seeing Jamie Finn’s ‘Nobody’s talking about Jamie’ which is on in May. He’s a super funny stand up / musical comedian / theatre-maker who’s doing a work-in-progress of his new theatre comedy show. That’s one to watch out for!
POLICE COPS IN SPACE is at Caravanserai: Luna Parc stage from 5 to 7 May. Tickets at www.brightonfringe.org
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