The Ghosts of Ricketts HillThe Ghosts of Ricketts Hill, directed by Neil Gladwin, is playing in Bosco Theatre at the Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of Adelaide Fringe 2008. It is the third show to come from The Suitcase Royale’s deft trio of collaborators and multi skilled performers Joseph O’Farrell, Miles O’Neil and Glen Walton. The show first premiered in Adelaide at the Black Lung Theatre for Fringe 2007 and since then has had a number of showings around Australia, including in the trio’s home town of Melbourne.

The audience gathers in front of Bosco Theatre and is promised DIY comedy and once inside and seated there are further promises of magic, illusion and great literature equalling Proust. The Bosco is a beautiful, intimate performance space built in 1909. Its old-world vibe parallels with the early twentieth century feel the show opens with, established through simple theatrical mechanics and with The Suitcase trio clustered before the audience in old fashioned leather flying caps. The three characters, Sturt, Fox and Bird, speed at tremendous heights in their small double-winged wooden plane. It is a beautifully simplistic scene, where the plane crashes, of course, and so begins the show in a loose, “junkyard theatre” style for which Suitcase Royale is building its reputation. But wait, there’s more, this old-world vibe is heavily peppered with 80’s pop culture with guest appearances from the likes of David Bowie and Meatloaf.

The Ghosts of Ricketts Hill, as the name may suggest, is an adventure ghost story, albeit an unconventional one. But then, conventional does not register in The Suitcase Royale’s bag of tricks. Theatrical elements that do register include orchestrated chaos, meandering storytelling, cartoonesque characterisation, big energy, recklessness, funny one-liners, physical and visual comedy, object manipulation, rhyme, lyrics, lip sync, pop culture, a whole lot of fun and a healthy dose of parody.

So, where does the initial promise of DIY comedy, magic, illusion and great literature stand? First of all it’s a piss-take and great pleasure is taken from this, particularly coupled with the trio’s high energy and wicked twinkle in their eyes. The promise of comedy? The show is funny with clever physical and visual stunts and one-liners when they’re not missed due to the odd babbled line or over powering sound track. The trio’s take on ‘great literature’ falls under the banner of comedy and is satisfying, fast-paced riffs on popular culture from rock lyrics to cult movies. Magic and illusion? I wanted more. The bar is set high in the first moments of the show and doesn’t always reach that standard while the manic mayhem and madness sometimes slows the otherwise punchy action. All in all The Ghosts of Ricketts Hill is a rough, wandering, exuberant package that does ultimately delight.

The Suitcase Royale present
The Ghosts of Ricketts Hill

Venue: Bosco Theater | The Garden of Unearthly Delight, Rundle Park, Corner of East Terrace & Rundle Street Adelaide
Dates: 19-25th (no show 22nd) of Feb
Time: 6.30pm

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