2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation (Tim Motley) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Tim Motley as Dirk Darrow

2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: a Dirk Darrow Investigation is a film noir-style detective story cum magic show presented by the Toronto Fringe Festival. The show stars Australian-American comedian Tim Motley, and is based on a story by Dashiell Hammett. Motley effortlessly controls the crowd and brings out some consistent laughs with his quick wit and slight of hand.

Motley engages the crowd as Dirk Darrow – a slick talking, 1930s-era private investigator, complete with cigarette, trench coat, and exaggerated voice inflection. Throughout the course of the show he weaves a tale of a momentously impressive bank heist, and his ensuing investigation.

The story-telling is accompanied by both magic tricks and rapid fire comedy. The comedy primarily consists of one liners – some quite clever, and generally pretty groan-worthy (thankfully I have a soft spot for groaners).

It’s worth mentioning that I’m not the biggest fan of magic. This isn’t to say that I actively dislike it, but I don’t usually go out of my way to see a magic show. I was intrigued, however, by the odd combination of film noir detective comedy mixed with magic.

The magic was not only entertaining and impressive, but I appreciate the minimalism and subtlety of the tricks. The materials were pared down – paper, writing utensils, playing cards, and nothing more.

Without seeing many magic shows in my time as an audience member, I would say this would be the epitome of a “Fringe magic show”; meaning, a really innovative magic show given the limited resources that most Fringe artists have.

Motley had to contend with a pretty low-energy audience, and a moment or two when his interaction with some of the audience members didn’t exactly go to plan. I think that Motley did a great job rolling with the punches, and maintaining the energy of the show throughout.

I should say that I had a smile on my face for the entire show – I enjoyed it! This piece is entertaining and very funny, and I would suggest adding it to your Fringe schedule if that’s what you’re looking for.


  • Two Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation plays at the Factory Mainspace. (125 Bathurst street).
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.

Remaining Showtimes
July 04 at 07:30 PM
July 06 at 08:30 PM
July 08 at 09:15 PM
July 09 at 01:45 PM
July 10 at 05:45 PM
July 11 at 05:45 PM

Photo of Tim Motley provided by company