Last Saturday I found myself skillfully navigating the crowded and popcorn reeking confines of the Edmonton Fringe Festival—lovely lady on my arm—in a hurried attempt to make it to the box-office in time. My friend Tom, the Stage Manager of the play I’d chosen to see, had advised me that advance tickets wouldn’t be strictly necessary, yet still an uneasy feeling mounted in my gut as I pushed through the mobs on the way to the PCL Studio Theatre.
As is often the case, my intuition had served me well—albeit late—and I arrived just in time to find the box office freshly out of tickets for ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’. Damn my luck! What sort of fringe fest play sells out on its opening weekend?
Well, this one by all evidence. ‘Rigby Muldoon’ sold out its opening night in fact—and every other night since!
Written by Robyn Slack and directed by Olivia Latta, ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’ is a noir-infused sci-fi comedy which tells the fascinating tale of aimless gamer-girl Annie Sinclair (Carina Morton), who is so desperate to undo the decisions of her past that she hires the services of the gritty and unabashedly noir-inspired time traveller: the titular Rigby Muldoon (Joshua Lee Coss).
Rigby Muldoon (Joshua Lee Coss) and Annie Sinclair (Carina Morton)
‘Rigby Muldoon’ was first test-read at Nextfest in June of this year, and only written in May. For such a relatively short turn-around time, the performance was impressively polished and professional—a 75 minute romp through time which brought consistent laughs to everyone in attendance.
While writer Robin Slack admits that the themes of the play are laid out on the table pretty early, the deft exploration of the subject matter keeps the audience guessing at several ongoing strands, while distracting like a skilled magician with a litany of jokes ranging from time-travel idiosyncrasies, to complex call back humour and even several plays at retro-inspired nostalgia (not limited to a Coolio reference!).
The tone of the show is unapologetic in its passionate dedication to what’s come before it—it’s innately chrono-conscious after all. The heavy noir imagery and attitudes manage to work incredibly well alongside the throwback video game references and 90’s irreverence which the cast find themselves mired in.
To give some context to the menagerie of mad settings and insightful writing you might find here, one stand-out scene involved a laser-tag shootout which served not only to make some key advances to the storyline, but also to utterly—and hilariously—tackle the concept of ‘trolling’. Take notes kids!
Of course, the humour isn’t limited to 90’s culture and unexpected twists: every facet of the stage design, costuming, and acting serves to solidify the intentionally overblown themes and self-aware quips. It seems at times that each scene might fit as well in a play of a totally different genre—but ‘Rigby’ is one of a kind!
In fact, as I sat watching the show in silent admiration, I realized how unsurprising it was that it had sold out every night it’s been put on. With its non-stop laughs and impressively subtle twists, it is the undeniable progeny of an unrestrained love for all things nerdy, coupled with an innate understanding of the fundamentals of good storytelling.
Left to Right: Laena Anderson, Robyn Slack, Joshua Lee Coss, Carina Morton
Speaking before the show with Writer Robyn Slack, I was assured that the play’s performance had exceeded his expectations. If so, he may be well-advised to broaden them before considering the next step for ‘Rigby Muldoon’. Its abundance of humour works on all levels while managing to make room for enough essential character building moments to keep the audience affectionately engaged throughout. My showing ended with an extended standing ovation from the sold-out crowd, and I can scarcely imagine the ending is much different no matter what night you attend.
As of the time of this posting, there are only two showings left of ‘Rigby Muldoon: Time Traveller for Hire’. You can catch it at the PCL Studio Theatre at the Edmonton Fringe Festival at the following times:
Saturday August 22nd – 8:45pm
Sunday August 23rd – 6:45pm
Just remember, unless you have the time-altering talents of the titular Rigby, you’d do well to learn from the mistakes of this writer and get your tickets in advance!
For More Info: Rigby Muldoon
-Brad OH Inc.