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Dumtectives in Cirque Noir at The Famous Spiegeltent

Home > Melbourne > Circus | Comedy | Nightlife | Theatre | Theatre Reviews
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
A little bit naughty, a little bit black, and very funny
A man staggers on to the stage, staggering, bleeding. He is in the final minutes of his life but fortunately manages to rally sufficiently to perform a jaw-dropping Corde Lisse (aerial rope) sequence, suspended high above the stage. But finally, in a dramatic and deliberately over-acted fashion, he falls to the floor.

Dumtectives in Cirque Noire at The Famous Spiegeltent - Review
The gifted and multi-talented performers Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Thomas McDonald and Leigh Rhodes. (Image supplied.)


And there we have the opening scene in The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir. It's a classic whodunnit, 1940s style, and only the best detectives in the land will be able to figure it out. That's where our team of bumbling detectives comes in.

Dumtectives in Cirque Noire at The Famous Spiegeltent - Review
The Dumtectives are on the case. (Writer's image.)


Dumtectives in Cirque Noir is performed by Dummies Corp, their first foray into circus comedy for adults. The company has previously had national and international success with the critically acclaimed family circus comedy shows Trash Test Dummies, Splash Test Dummies and Don't Mess with the Dummies.

In Dumtectives in Cirque Noir, we have three gifted and multi-talented performers in Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Thomas McDonald and Leigh Rhodes, with co-direction by Dummies Corp founder Jamie Bretman and seven-time Green Room nominee Clare Bartholomew.

Dumtectives in Cirque Noire at The Famous Spiegeltent - Review
The Dumtectives: Thomas McDonald, Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Leigh Rhodes. (Image supplied.)


Back to the story. The Dumtectives are in their agency, dressed as stereotypical detectives, with their matching tweed pants/skirt, trench coats and hats. They are killing time until their next job comes in by doing a little juggling, hat spinning, and human tower building. Enter the widow of the recently deceased man, distraught because she is being accused of his murder. The Dumtectives agree to take on her case.

There follows an investigation, accusations, the inevitable car chase, until finally, the guilty party is identified. Along the way, there is a lot of circus and slapstick foolery.

The car chase was hilarious and brilliant - my favourite scene of the show, and it still makes me smile to think about it.

Dumtectives in Cirque Noire at The Famous Spiegeltent - Review
Car chase scene. (Writer's image.)


After the show, my partner and I tried to tally up the number of circus and theatrical techniques the clever performers had been able to incorporate into this one-hour show. We lost count at 15. It's a true testament to the skill, talent and depth of these three, and they all make a strong contribution to the success of this wonderful show.

There is minimal dialogue and few props in the show, concepts are largely communicated by mime and gestures, even some puppetry. The show is perfectly suited to the Spiegeltent format, the catwalk set up is ideal for this style of theatre.

There is so much to love about Dumtectives in Cirque Noir. It's 10/10 from me for originality, execution and pure entertainment. The show must surely be awarded this MICF, it's just so darned clever. Don't miss it!

Dumtectives in Cirque Noir continues at The Famous Spiegeltent, in the forecourt of Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, until Sunday 18th April. There are performances every day except Mondays. Performance times are Tuesday - Thursday: 7.00pm, Fridays - Saturdays 7.30pm, Sundays 6.30pm.

The running time is one hour. The show is suitable for audience age 18 plus.

Tickets are $35 - $40. Click here to buy tickets online, or call Arts Centre Melbourne on 1300 182 183 (Mon - Fri).
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*Fiona Anderson was invited as a guest
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Why? A stand out show - it would be a crime not to see it!
When: Playing every night except Mondays until Sunday 18th April
Phone: Arts Centre Melbourne ticketing: 1300 182 183
Where: The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Cost: $35 - $40
Your Comment
A very good review Fiona. You make it sounds entertaining without giving away too much. Nothing like a good laugh.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|2292) 29 days ago
The spiegeltent delivers again.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|2578) 28 days ago
I booked to see this on Tuesday night at 7pm for my family including a 12 and 16 year old. BUT We were approached by a ticket chick who advised us thatbit was for 18plus and included sexual something and NUDITY! I got a refund immediately. Your article says nothing about NUDITY or anything else that was on the long list presented by the ticket chic who advised us it was not suitable for us. Very disappointing to miss what sounds like a terrific show. Why put a show on in the middle of school holidays at family time (7pm) when its unsuitable for tweens?
by gierc (score: 0|4) 25 days ago
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