‘The Great Ridolphi’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

‘The Great Ridolphi’ is a fresh and exciting piece of writing, skilfully crafted by WA’s Chris Isaacs. The storyline was based on the combined ideas of Adam Mitchell, Steve Turner and Chris Isaacs. This is an indie, adult spectacle from the outstanding, WA production group, ‘The Last Great Hunt’.

On a point of interest, 450 years ago, the Ridolphi Plot was linked to Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up Parliament.

This gripping drama is being presented as part of the Fringe Summer Nights, in the main Blue Room Theatre, 53 James Street in Northbridge.

This MUST SEE, one-hour show is on nightly at 9.30 until 20th February.


At first glances, the set (designer, Trent Suidgeest) appears simple, with a table and a couple of chairs; however, in the corner of the stage is a telephone box, which has all of the magical properties of Superman’s ‘phone booth and a Dr Who box. The white rear wall of the box has projected onto it, video (also by Trent Suidgeest) of the old magician at work, and scenes of the many localities his son will experience on the way through this tale. I rarely comment on posters, but Jamie Breen’s stunning photo captured the play’s mystery perfectly. 

As always, Ben Collins soundscape was beautifully composed, and played subtly in the background.


       When he died, the world’s greatest escape artist and magician – The Great Ridolphi – left his immense wealth to a charity, with his sole son, Victor O’Meara receiving only a battered suitcase, filled with what appears to be trashy, op shop contents.

      A decade after his father’s death, Victor (Steve Turner) received a visit from a detective linked to the Art Fraud and Theft section of Scotland Yard. It seems at the time of his father’s death, a priceless museum painting had been swapped for a copy.

      The policeman was keen to hold onto the father’s suitcase, but Victor suspected there might be clues in it that he had missed.

      What did the random objects mean? Could his father really have been a master thief?


In an exciting and intriguing tale of mystery, you feel as though it is the Da Vinci Code all over again – except this time with quality! When I looked at the names of the scriptwriter, technical team, the actor and director, then considered their amazing achievements, with all of them having won every major WA prize in their field, I was blown away. Naturally, I was expecting a quality show, but what they have given us is just another realm.

Every member of the team has given their VERY best. Everyone left the theatre stunned at the overall perfection of this play. Amazing skills.