Review by Andrew Snowdon
55 minutes | Comedy | PG
Dirk Darrow is a hardened private dick, who…
What? It means detective. Or it did, in the 1930s. Let me start that again:
Part Sam Spade, part David Blaine, and a sprinkling of Leisure Suit Larry, Dirk Darrow has a murder to solve in under an hour, with the help of the audience, using a blend of deft sleight-of-hand, well-executed mentalism, sight gags, puns, and groaners.
Dirk Darrow: NCSSI (Not Completely Serious Supernatural Investigator) is light, funny material (some of it’s off-colour, but not to excess), decent subtle stage magic, and a coherent plot with a classic film noir aesthetic in the hands of an exceedingly personable performer. Illusion, comedy, and film-noir might sound like too many things to stuff into one show. On the contrary, performer Tim Motley has hit on a balance that keeps the ball rolling, and everyone interested and laughing (or groaning). His performance style is generally relaxed and laid-back; Dirk Darrow (and Motley himself) exude congeniality. He plays off the audience—and with the audience: there is a lot of (mostly) voluntary audience participation throughout the show. The entire experience is entertaining and enjoyable, although some people will find the finale makes them a little squeamish. To say more would be to spoil the surprise.
Motley hails from Melbourne, Australia; for one reason or another, Australians tend to do really well at the Ottawa Fringe. It seems to be because they’re especially friendly and they tour great shows. Good thing, too: we make it worth their while to travel halfway around the world to present a one-hour show, and it’s certainly worth our while to be able to see them. Dirk Darrow is no exception to this rule. It’s pretty much a guaranteed good time.
A herbal cigarette is used early in the performance, as are gunshots; Studio Léonard-Beaulne is a fairly small space so if you’re sensitive to smoke or loud sounds take that into consideration.
Dirk Darrow: NCSSI (Not Completely Serious Supernatural Investigator) is playing at Venue 4 – Studio Léonard-Beaulne (135 Seraphin-Marion, University of Ottawa) on Sunday June 17 at 11:00 pm; Thursday June 21 at 5:30 pm; Friday June 22 at 7:00 pm; Saturday June 23 at 8:00 pm; and Sunday June 23 at 12:00 pm.