Fringe review: Dirk Darrow: NCSSI (Not Completely Serious Supernatural Investigator)
Despite its title, Dirk Darrow: NCSSI (Not Completely Serious Supernatural Investigator) is not a spoof of the entire CBS primetime schedule. Instead, it’s an hour of film noir led by a good, old-fashioned private dick — one with a sharp tongue and a head full of wonders.
Our man Dirk claims to be hot on the trail of a wily murderer; at the same time, he’s bedeviled by thoughts of a dame he’s fallen for like a ton of bricks. No wonder his stomach is doing belly-flops. (On the other hand, it just might be the curry.) To solve the case, Dirk needs our help — which gives Australian actor/magician Tim Motley the chance to show off his skills as a mentalist, including correctly discerning the contents of a series of sealed “evidence” envelopes.
Sure, you’ve seen such “miracles” of suggestion and misdirection plenty of times before, but maybe not at this level of complexity and sophistication. (One winning bit has “Dirk” correctly discerning the weapon, motive and exact time of the crime, all at once and from prompts at various places around the room.) And any temptation to dismiss the act as familiar is banished by Motley’s wonderful wordplay, which takes the tart lingo of a Sam Spade and blows it up into the truly absurd. In fact, the nearly free-associative lunacy of the opening narration may be even more enjoyable than the “act” itself.
Plus, Motley has a way with an audience put-down that comes in mighty handy this far south of the Mason-Stupid Line. At the performance I saw, “Dirk” showed an audience member three geometric shapes — a circle, a square and a triangle — and asked “Can you please pick one?” The answer: “Okay.” Followed by an awkward silence, broken only by Motley’s terse observation that it would be helpful to actually name it.
Forget it, Dirk. It’s O-town. And Wednesday.
Tim Motley – Victoria, Australia
Friday 18 May; at 10:15pm in the Yellow
Saturday 19 May; at 12:45pm in the Yellow
Monday 21 May; at 7:30pm in the Yellow
Tuesday 22 May; at 10:45pm in the Yellow
Wednesday 23 May; at 7:45pm in the Yellow
Saturday 26 May; at 10:15pm in the Yellow
Sunday 27 May; at 7:30pm in the Yellow
Price: $11 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)
Discount(s): Seniors, Students