Tim Motley performs as his alter-ego in Crazy for Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation.
Tim Motley performs as his alter-ego in Crazy for Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation.

Magician Tim Motley has his film noir patter down in (Sam) spades. I only wish his magic and mind reading skills were as engaging.

Called upon to solve a murder in a psychiatric hospital, Motley plays both suspects and the private dick called upon to solve the crime. A professor, a priest, and even a fringe performer are all fodder for this film noir treatment, which is only lacking in theatrical smoke.

Ignoring the rule of three in comedy, as Motley embodies each suspect they perform the magic largely made up of four mind reading bits. While he throws in other more traditional illusions into the mix, they never landed with the necessary impact. And the grand finale intended to tie it all together definitely did not go as planned.

Despite the underwhelming magic, Motley impresses with his characterizations and the overall noir universe he has created. There is also a good dose of humour.

Motley himself knew things didn’t go so well, blaming the early afternoon time slot and the venue in his post-show chat with the audience. While there may be some truth in why things didn’t go so well at this performance, the ultimate responsibility lies with the performer.

Crazy for Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation continues at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island (1412 Cartwright St, Vancouver) as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.