Stand By

Ed Fest Mag / Zoe Atherfold

The reality of policing is not like the movies.

Writer and performer Adam McNamara is a former police officer and tells it like it is. Stand By is genuine, funny and tragic and may leave you questioning why anyone would join the force.

Four officers await for an indefinite amount of time trapped in a police van, as much due to procedures and staff shortages as due to the altercation at hand. They could be called to action at any moment, but until then they can only wait and we wait with them. Every member of the audience is given a single earpiece headphone before being seated and we listen together to updates, ranting frustrated sergeants and escalating potentially violent situations as we sit and wait with the officers in the van, helpless.

The actors are brilliant: they interlock perfectly with each other and the banter bounces around the van as naturally as it would in a pub with your mates. You start to understand the frustrations of a serving police officer: joining the force to make a positive change and finding you spend all your time dealing with the worst offenders in society. Being married to the job and living your personal life in the gaps in between. The strain on personal relationships versus the camaraderie and closeness that only comes from shared experiences of the team. Fleeting adrenaline versus mountains of admin.

The earpiece is a simple device that manages to include the whole audience and brings them closer to the action. You’re not watching a play, you’re right there with them. A unique and enthralling performance