I do get a bit lost in the details of the show though. I know there is a snitch and a guy named Vinnie and the titular femme fatale, Ruby Knockers, but I couldn’t really tell you all the twists and turns of the plot. It didn’t really matter to me though as it still followed the general formula I understood. All throughout we are treated to wordplay, math puns, off-colour jokes, and as the premier audience for Motley’s appearance here, he comments on our reaction to each of them, a great way to elicit more humour from us if a particular joke doesn’t land. To be honest, we mostly groan at the jokes, but in a generally good-natured way. After his comments to us, Motley cheekily grins as if to say our theatre-boffin pretentiousness is showing.
My favourite part of the show was the mentalism… Mentalisticism? Anyway, the mentalist parts. I was rather astonished by his ability to read people well enough to figure out the answers we wrote down on the cards through careful questioning and reading body language. His psychic drawing part of the show was quite hilarious for this Wellington crowd. Without spoiling, I never really thought about how our Bucket Fountain could look to those who had never seen it in person.
The parts of the show where Motley displays his talents in this arena were fascinating to me. Despite being a sceptic, I love trying to figure out how magicians and mentalists alike do their tricks. I wish there had been even more of this in the show as I missed it when I was heffalumping my way through the more convoluted film noir plot. Watching his expertise at wielding a pack of cards was remarkable and really fun to watch. He uses the entire pack of cards. The entire pack. It was pretty cool.
Tim Motley’s 2 Ruby Knockers and 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation was fun and a worthwhile romp for those of us who enjoy a good pun or ten and that hazy, forever fog-strewn, mystic era of noir entertainment. If you’re heading out to a Fringe show this year, I would put this mentalist on your mental list.
2 Ruby Knockers and 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation plays at Te Auaha until Saturday 16th of March. You can book tickets here.