Taking inspiration from television action-sci-fi show : Time Tunnel (I’m guessing) Chrono Cops (Elite Time Patrol) tells the story of how a petty crook is roped into being a special kind of detective. A glamorous female agent (aka “Agent I”) saves his bacon, just as a couple of goons are about to punch his ticket. He’s enlisted in a crazy adventure, hop-scotching through time and space, in a seemingly futile mission to thwart Der Kommisar and Natasha Zarkon before they manipulate historical events and Communism (*shudder*) prevails! It’s not easy to find a spoof that quotes Karl Marx (or is it Engels?) every 20 minutes, though, personally, I never thought : “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs,” was such a horrible idea.
Christened “Agent J” our hero must receive his training on the fly, as he and Agent I are desperate to save America from a future without the obvious benefits of Capitalism. As we would expect no less from Pocket Sandwich Theatre, Chrono Cops (written by Chris Irby and Sean Freeman) wields their own particular brand of nonsense : female villains attired in black bondage gear, hamfisted and occasionally subtle sexual innuendo, irredeemably silly plot twists and cameos by famous historical figures (such as John F and Jacqueline Kennedy). Agent J, being the red-blooded, wisecracking noir detective that he is, persistently puts the the moves on Agent I, but she is all business, torching the poor guy’s heart like a marshmallow. In the meantime, Der Kommisar is already two steps ahead of them, changing the very fabric of history with a seemingly harmless and dull brochure.
It’s always a treat to experience PST’s shaggy-dog plots, megalomaniacal fiends, and reliably familiar plot devices. No other theater that I know of has managed to do so much with their ingenious mix of nostalgia, schlock, pop-culture and pervasive (painfully bad) double entendre’s. In the chaotic, surprisingly delicate world of stage comedy, where chemistry, casting, tone, delivery can make the difference between hilarity and the somber symphony of crickets chirping, Pocket Sandwich, more often than not, pulls it off through the kind sheer audacity that would make a seasoned vaudevillianwince (if not also wildly envious?). Albee may be dry and demented, Ionesco off the charts, and Simon the King of Quips, but Pocket Sandwich is the MacGyver of low-budget comedy. They could bring civilization to its knees, with a milk carton, 6 marbles, a corkscrew, and a tin of those chalky mints.
Pocket Sandwich Theatre presents Chrono Cops (Elite Time Patrol) playing July 2nd-August 22nd, 2015. 5400 East Mockingbird # 119, Dallas, Texas 75206. 214-821-1860. www.pocketsandwich.com