Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“Join hip teen detective Ricky Riddlegang and his trusty Riddle Gang as they solve the mystery of the haunted manor and put the perpetrator to death. Spectres, suspects and shenanigans abound as the Gang delve into an enigma that threatens to devour them all… Uncle Eustace Riddlegang’s ancestral collection of clues and hints has gone missing. This makes tracking down the culprit difficult as it’s completely impossible to tell what clues and hints are relevant. But which of the one previously introduced characters could the culprit actually be?”
I took a fifteen year-old with me to see Ricky Riddlegang and the Riddle Gang and he came out saying it was the best show he’d seen at this year’s Fringe so far (and he’d seen a few).
He was talking about it all the way along Rose Street, sharing his favourite moments from the show, comparing it to his favourite TV shows and comic books. He asked me sho my favourite character was. He was reflecting on a show that contained its own unique material and style and yet was also rooted in the familiar. He talked about wanting to go back and see it again as well as seeing their other show at the Fringe, Cream Tea and Incest. High praise indeed.
A spoof adventure story with a gang of intrepid, clueless and clue-finding mystery solvers, the show might have jumped out of a comic book you find in a store that eschews Marvel seriousness for Scooby-wackiness, laced with plenty of adult gags and references but with more than enough to keep the older “pesky meddlin’ kids” happy (including 53 year-old moi).
The well balanced cast of five are highly talented, and there’s plenty of verbal and physical knockabout, set pieces, pay-off gags, a bit of improvisation and helpful corpsing, inventive cardboard sets and props, music and even a few hilarious gadgets and special effects. This is parody on American TV and film, but it transfers well to the Edfringe (given its a British company anyway!). Most of all, it’s a thumpingly enjoyable story.
It’s a well penned script that carries us along at a breakneck speed, and you’ll miss a lot of gags the first time round (hint, hint) if you don’t lean forward to catch them all. It’s a highly charged comedy romp that is delivered so full-on that, after a while, it can feel a bit too in-yer-face. Oh, and there are ghosts and baddies.
The slowdowns and pauses in this pell-mell show are precious and help to modulate the whole enjoyable thing. Occasionally some of the comedy references and interplay flummox a few of the younger ones and out-of-touch adults and this can affect accessibility in places where we can literally lose the plot. A bit less might end up being a bit more in terms of content.
Overall, this is an excellent comedy theatre show, with off-beam yet still archetypal, likeable, heroes, suitable baddies and a story that keeps you interested. The talents of both performers and writer make for a thoroughly fun and energising hour..