Through the kitsch and glamour of the Butterfly Club cocktail bar, past the red-lit dolls and full bookcases leaden with dust and wall-plastered pictures of Star Wars characters, up a thin and creaking steep staircase lies a door with the name ‘Kit Goodman’ on it. The room beyond is quiet, undisturbed in the night falling upon Brunswick’s police department – the perfect place for a murder. A floor below, the elf-heiress coroner bemoans the death of her magic brethren to gentrification. Further up Sydney Road a PTV officer dreams of applying a decades late fare fine. The scene is set for a noir mystery the likes of which you’ll never unsee.
Kit Goodman! A Good Man is a bendy gendered noir comedy playing the Butterfly Club this week. It’s got a pocketful of PTV quips and social satire with equal parts sex to murder evening out the equation. After his hairy chested object of desire is murdered in his own office Kit Goodman must delay retirement and crack his most personal case yet.
Writer director Emily White’s script mostly works, burning through quick as a lit smoke. So frantic is the pace I felt the need for breath somewhere, a chance to let the better jokes hit harder. At points the writing is dangerously sharp and a thrill to witness being made boisterously real by the cast. Goodman himself has the misfortune of landing the least likeable role, whose obliviously obvious lines rely on physical theatre to really work. Elsewhere the characters are trope-y misfits from differing genres clashing in funny ways. For me the best parts all came from outside the noir theme, the real differentiators in a genre takedown we’ve seen before.
If you’re a Melbourne local you’ll drool over the stingingly localised jokes like I did and maybe you’ll appreciate the nerdy PTV callouts too (I know I really did). I wouldn’t call it a home run but there’s enough laughs and unique turns to make Kit Goodman! A Good Man an easy recommendation.