Manchester, 1999, a few days before the calendar clicks over to what many regard as the new millennium, but while the newspapers concern themselves with how outdated computer systems will respond there is a greater threat to the city, stalking the streets at night in search of prey.
Following a series of mysterious deaths, the latest a “juicy-necked boy,” rebellious former telesales agent Tommy Dixon is attacked on his way home after a night out only to be saved by a cloaked stranger, Father Badass of Saint Bartholomew’s Church.
“I make the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame really cool,” he says before vanishing himself, but through a dropped Bible Tommy is able to track him and begins his training as a vampire slayer under the guidance of Father Badass and his associate Hank, with the clock ticking until the Devil opens a portal from Hell to the Hacienda.
The third show from The Pretend Men, Zachary Hunt, Tom Roe and Nathan Parkinson, Badass Be Thy Name would be exhausting enough were it not running on many nights as a double bill with an encore of last year’s Police Cops in Space, a manic riot of ideas knitted together with swordplay and insane leaps of illogic.
With not a moment wasted, exuberant physical theatre colliding with sight gags and demonic puns as well as song and dance numbers in the Hell Extravaganza, the final raid on the underworld presented through surprisingly sophisticated puppetry techniques.
A guaranteed winner of the Fringe as the three members of the team blast through costume changes, multiple characters and adlib through prop malfunctions, even occasionally trying to trip each other with devilish glee, only those members of the audience who are already victims of the vampire plague could fail to laugh.