6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation (Tim Motley) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Tim MotleyI wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into 6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation, a show byTim Motley playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Was it a pornographic? Was it a police procedural?  And how are you supposed to say that name without getting tongue-tied? Turns out, it’s a magic show mixed with a 1940’s film-noir detective story with a dose of comedy thrown in.

Tim Motley is Dirk Darrow, a paranormal investigator with incredible mind-reading powers. He’s an old-fashioned detective, hence the “dick” in the title. Wearing a fedora and a trench coat, Motley wisecracks with rapid-fire dialogue that sends up the style of classic films like The Maltese Falcon.

The main and, to my mind, best feature of the performance was the magic. Motley performs a series of mentalist tricks (the six from the title) where he reads the minds of members of the audience. No secret is safe from Dirk Darrow. He guesses playing cards, the name of someone’s first pet, someone’s first kiss. The magic is impressive and delivered with a great deal of humour and fun. The audience participation in the final segment had the crowd roaring with laughter.

There’s also a murder mystery which I think was supposed to frame and link the tricks together. Unfortunately, that story was completely lost on me. Maybe the delivery was too fast, but I just couldn’t follow the narrative. This didn’t negatively affect the magic for me, but it didn’t add anything either.

I also thought some of the one-liners were a little stale. While I found him pretty funny in general, Motley attempted some local humour, with jokes about Scarborough and Hamilton that just didn’t work. Despite that, I enjoyed myself at 6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation. It was a fun way to spend an hour at the Fringe.


  • 6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation plays at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Gunshots, Sexual Content, Smoking, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 20 minutes before showtime.


  • Thursday July 6th, 07:00 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 11:00 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 01:15 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 10:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 03:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 08:45 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 12:00 pm

Photo of Tim Motley by Nathaniel Mason