Melbourne Comedy Festival Review: The Dumtectives In Cirque Noir

The Dumtectives In Cirque Noir is a dazzling hour of breath-taking slapstick and comedic brilliance. The brainchild of local circus company Dummies Corp, Dumtectives, staged at the Famous Spiegeltent in the Arts Centre forecourt, uses the framework of a 1940s film noir as a springboard for acrobatic stunts, cheeky stripteases, bawdy burlesque, marvellous mime, astounding juggling feats and innovative puppetry, all incorporated into what is a largely dialogue-free show.

The plot is largely consequential, but the basic framework is the familiar noir plot – a murder has taken place, and a blonde femme fatale wants the titular trio of “Dumtectives” to solve the crime, but the hapless sleuths are seemingly too caught up in their own buffoonery and crazed antics to achieve anything, let alone solve a murder.

The trio of talented performers – Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Leigh Rhodes and Thomas McDonald – who star in this show has astounding chemistry on stage, with many of their incredible routines relying on pinpoint co-ordination and co-operation which they pull off without a hitch.

There are too many highlights to mention, but special mention must go to a unbelievable display of juggling, with objects flying so fast and numerous in number that it’s a beautifully bewildering sight. The opening, in which the show’s murder victim stumbles onto stage but finds time to treat us to some acrobatic feats is another high point of the show.

The music and songs featured in the show, composed by Mal Web, perfectly compliment the action and evoke the 1940s setting effortlessly. The variety of the show is also a tremendous asset, with the show reinventing itself with every new segment.

The audience was particularly taken with the show-stopping musical number performed by the aforementioned femme fatale, the wonderfully-named Sarah Nader (serenader- get it?). I won’t spoil exactly how the number is stage as this performance is one of the show’s most delightfully unexpected and hilarious surprises. Another elaborate sequence involving the Dumtectives engaging in a quite unique car crash is one you have to see to believe.

While the Dummies Corp company has done a lot of family entertainment in the past, this is definitely skewed towards older audiences and is a little bit too risque and ribald for younger eyes. It certainly never gets too crude though and always retains a playful cheekiness all the way through the show. The Famous Spiegeltent is the perfect setting for such a performance and all shows performed under the iconic big top always seem to possess their own inspired brand of magic.

Do not miss this offbeat and incredibly inventive show, the Dummies Corp team have outdone themselves with a dizzying, whip-fast hour of entertainment that you won’t have to go sleuthing yourself to find the laughs and entertainment this show has to offer.

The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir is currently playing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Famous Spiegeltent in the forecourt of the Arts Centre, Melbourne until April 18.

Tickets and show info can be found here.

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