Film Noir hilariously meets slapstick comedy to produce Dumtectives in Cirque Noir – a 1940’s style, whodunnit-esque circus comedy abundant with catchy original songs, cheeky inuendo, and gravity-defying stunts that will have you holding your breath.
Showing now as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Dumtectives is the night out you have been craving this April (just mind the MA15+ rating – this isn’t a show to bring the kids to).
Walking into the venue – The Famous Spiegeltent – positioned out front of the Arts Centre, I was already hooked. You would be hard-pressed to find a circus tent with half the beauty or individuality as this one. Lined with tassels, drapes and textured stained glass windows, the Spiegeltent truly is something to behold. My partner and I took a seat in the front row and spent the few minutes we had to wait gazing around the room, taken aback by the space.
From the moment the lights dimmed, and Thomas McDonald took to the stage to perform the opening act, we knew we were in for a treat. When I try to pinpoint my favourite stunt from the show, there are few that can beat McDonald’s opener as he performed aerial acrobatics that quite literally defy gravity.
From there, settle in, because the show continues to delight until the very end. Knife juggling, a catchy original song (that you will be sure to be singing under your breath for days), penis jokes, and a strip tease – there really is something for everyone. The show also boasts a marionette femme fatale – yes, you read that correctly – controlled by puppeteer extraordinaire, David Splatt.
Accompanying Thomas McDonald were fellow Dummies Corp members Amy Nightingale-Olsen and Leigh Rhodes, and the trio gave the performances of a lifetime. What I most enjoyed about their style of performing was their ability to adapt when a stunt didn’t quite go to plan. Rather than getting discouraged when something didn’t go right, they used it to their advantage, adlibbing a joke and getting right back to it.
The three of them also had a way of involving the audience that was warm and inviting. Oftentimes comedy shows can involve audience members by way of making them the butt of the joke. Not in this show though. Instead, the performers in Dumtectives didn’t force crowd interaction, but rather would give us a wink, or make eye contact while delivering a joke so that it felt we were in on the action.
My partner would echo this sentiment, as he hilariously was the recipient of several flirty winks from the performers as they carried-out some of their cheekier, more NSFW stunts.
Trying to pinpoint what exactly made Dummies Corp’s new adult circus comedy Dumtectives in Cirque Noir so enjoyable is a feat I now realise is impossible. Whilst reminiscing on the show’s performers, venue, stunts, costumes, etc, I am struck by how well put together this show truly is, and how everything that has gone into it perfectly combines to create an experience I won’t soon forget.
Walking out of the show, my partner remarked that it was his favourite date he had ever been on, and since then we have been telling everyone we know about it.
Be quick to grab tickets as Dumtectives in Cirque Noir is due to complete it’s run this Sunday the 18th, in line with the close of the MICF. Tickets are on sale now at The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir | Arts Centre Melbourne – with prices ranging from $35-45 a ticket.
(Do be aware – seating at the show is not allocated, so ensure you arrive with plenty of time to spare to snag a front row seat!)