Tim Motley, from Melbourne, Australia, is Dirk Darrow, a private dick circa 1937. Self-hailed as a “one-man comedy film noir magical mentalist murder mystery,” Dirk Darrow is a winning 60 minutes of stand-up, magic tricks, hard-boiled puns and audience engagement.
After successful runs at other Fringe Festivals, including earning a “Pick of the Fringe” award at the Victoria Fringe Festival, Motley played to a full house on opening night. Darrow’s gumshoe detective story goes like this: He is a fedora-wearing, gun-toting man in love with the wrong kind of dame. Man is murdered (bum, bum, bum!) and with magic tricks, mentalism and plenty of help from game audience members, he solves the who, what, where, when and why of the crime.
One of the best lines of the night was delivered by an elegant older man in the audience: “Talk, you lousy street dick.”
This is a well-worn show and Motley incorporates local references with ease, stage whispering, “Two days,” to reinforce his swift cleverness given his short time here in town. There is some reference in preview materials to paranormal, X-Files sorts of content, but I didn’t catch that part. Instead, I rejoiced in the drug haze jokes ("Do homeless people resent house music?”) and the interpretive dance and subsequent admonishment after a fall to the floor. “No, no. Save your applause.”
In most Fringe shows, the actors break character at the end to say thanks and to encourage patrons to see other shows. This is a key moment in the Dirk Darrow hour as you hear for the first time the dense musicality of Motley’s Australian accent, which has been entirely absent from Darrow’s American noir detective banter.
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