Review: Great Detectives: All New Mysteries! @ Adelaide Fringe 2024

'Great Detectives: All New Mysteries!'
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

‘Great Detectives: All New Mysteries!’ was a charming and entertaining performance starring four talented Aussie actors: Jennifer Barry, Benjamin Maio Mackay, Tate Simpson and Eden Trebilco.

It consisted of two murder mystery tales, written by Benjamin Maio Mackay, in the style of a classic 1950s radio recording, which was fittingly set in a picturesque heritage building in Adelaide.

The show was well produced and performed, with expertise and charisma. All four actors did a fabulous job of bringing the characters to life, as well as engaging with the audience and including some improv into the mix. It had a relaxed and casual feel, that most likely came from the experience of the actors, as you could tell they were at home on stage. They were all skilled at taking on multiple roles with different voices and accents, and their comic timing was on point.

Bringing a 1950s style radio recording to the 2020s was a unique idea that was well executed, with attention to details including costumes and the type of microphones that were used as props. The actors also brought some comedic flair to their use of the microphones while portraying some of the action scenes. The physical comedy was a fun part of the performance throughout.

The jokes and the dialogue were well-written in the style of the 1950s, and the performers made light of some of the less progressive attitudes of the time. Writing two fan-favourite main characters from classic radio mysteries into the play was a good choice, which will resonate with audiences who are familiar with the characters, and allow others to experience a piece of the culture of the time.

GreatDetectives 2

The narratives were exciting, humorous and action-packed, with a range of intriguing, eccentric characters and mysteries for them to solve (along with the audience). The show made you feel effortlessly transported to 1950s America.

One thing that could perhaps have been improved would be to include more of the characters’ back-stories, or other details, to allow the audience to better picture them in the narrative. The locations the characters visit in the play could also have been described more, since there weren’t many props, owing to the genre. However, the actors did well at simulating these. Music or lighting could also have been used to add to the level of immersion in the story.

Overall, 'Great Detectives' was an innovative play, which was performed with flair. It would make for a fun night out for anyone who likes murder mysteries, historical dramas or action-comedies.

Words: Jade Manson

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