Reviews for The Flying Detective




 (transcribed from video broadcast) “Fringe favourites the Accidental Humour Company known for past multimedia fringe shows such as Happy Whackin Jim McCrackin and For the Love of a Zombie take a slightly different course with The Flying Detective. Teaming up with the Edson and District Historical Society in The Flying Detective to tell a based-on-fact story, set in Edmonton and Edson in 1919. When a constable is murdered a determined detective reluctantly gets help on his manhunt from the legendary WWI ace pilot Wop May.

… It’s a remarkable based-on-fact story with Accidental Humour Companies customary blend of live action and multimedia filmed on locations in and around Edmonton and Edson. With a solid cast that really sees the company upping their game. 5 out of 5 for the flying detective!”

~Todd James of Global TV

5/5 Stars: “Fringers love to laugh and The Flying Detective is one production that had the packed audience yukking it up consistently.

A favourite of Edmonton Fringe, Accidental Humour Co. creators usually develop original, multi-media, action-packed satires and farces. In this 90-minute comedy directed by Taylor Chadwick, everyone travels back to 1919 where it appears Constable William Nixon is shot during a botched robbery attempt at Fort Edmonton. Nixon’s former partner, Detective Campbell, a crusty boilerplate cop with a soft Scottish burr, vows to capture the perpetrator, a violent offender named Larson, even if it means chasing him across the province. That is no easy feat on steam locomotives.

Enter the barn-storming flyer Wop May. He’s just ordered an airplane kit and plans to start up an airline service in Alberta. Wop May offers to fly Campbell wherever he needs.“What cop would be crazy enough to spend three hours in an aerial coffin,” shouts Campbell just a few minutes before stepping into the wobbly craft. One of the best parts is watching the cast of four assemble an actual life-size airplane prop on stage, complete with wings and propeller. What sets Accidental Humour Co. apart from other productions is their flawless approach to integrating live theatre with pre-recorded film sequences.

The real-time actors on stage interact with pre-recorded film scenes and the timing is flawless. Starring in The Flying Detective is the Arden Theatre’s former professional programming presenter, Neil LeGrandeur, as the ill-fated Nixon and several other secondary characters. In addition, Cody Porter stars as the irascible Detective Campbell, William Banfield is the upbeat Wop May and Cliff Kelly is the out-of-control Larson.

The Flying Detective has a delightful cartoonish vibe that will have you rolling with laughter. Buy your tickets now. I predict it will sell out quickly.”

~Anna Borowiecki of St Albert Gazette

4.5 /5 Stars: “Accidental Humour Co. is known for its unique and thrilling melding of video and theatre and is back with its ambitious historical aviation adventure epic, The Flying Detective, a fast-paced tour de force that is based on local history.

It would be impossible to talk about The Flying Detective without lauding its crew. Brent Felzien’s video elements help the show transcend the limitations of live theatre. Director Taylor Chadwick and Felzien work together to streamline the live acting with the video so seamlessly and creatively, there is always something interesting to look at and watching the actors interact with video props is perfectly executed. The airplane though, is the unsung hero of the show. When it first appears on stage, it draws a collective gasp from the audience. When it takes off, everyone whoops and cheers. Cliff Kelly designed the set and props, and he should be very proud of the impressive work he did here. 

While the visuals and props usurp the story just a little, it is certainly a story worth hearing. It is 1919, and Constable Nixon of the Edmonton Police Service is killed in the line of duty. His former partner, Detective Campbell, is tracking the suspect but running out of time. Thanks to chipper pilot “Wop” May, played with wit and charm by William Banfield, who is just literally and figuratively getting his airplanes off the ground, Campbell is able to fly out to Edson, the killer’s last known whereabouts, in mere hours. Campbell is a maverick, so being forced to work with the jolly May generates big laughs. Unbeknownst to him though, he needs May for more than just his airplane.”

~Miya Abe of Daze Magazine


Canadian history in motion: The Flying Detective

“If there is a downside to Fringelandia, it is that economics, time and generally good sense militate against staging lavish productions, although inventive set design can spring from the most modest materials.

Well, thanks to the producing Edson & District Historical Society and a long list of sponsors, here is a bona fide production directed by Taylor Chadwick and worthy of any mainline professional regional theatre company season — complete with exceptional filmed sequences and impressive (!) props. In the latter case, I’ll leave it to you to witness the showstopper, a local take on Miss Saigon, if you will.

Yes, the provenance here might indicate to some a 90-minute of turgid, if well-intentioned, good-for-you CanLit historical fiction. But the good news here is that Brent Felzien’s The Flying Detective, if based on a true local story (with embellishments) is a lot of fun, and very easy on the eyes and spirit.

It involves the 1919 murder of an Edmonton constable, and the pursuit of his killer by an obsessed, dour Socttish-Canadian detective, one James Campbell (Cody Porter). In the trek to Edson, he’s joined by the celebrated war hero and aviation pioneer Wilfred “Wop” May (William Banfield) who is about to revolutionize transportation in Western Canada.

We’re engaged with the chase to find the grizzled killer, who escapes for a time before he meets his destiny. The filmed visuals are terrific.

Yep, there are some glitches here, in dialogue, story exposition and performance, although Porter and Banfield acquit themselves well enough. That said, the packed Westbury crowd stood up as one at the end, which only goes to prove that Canadian history delivered by the right hands can be a well-loved story worth telling.”

~ Alan Kellogg of


“The Accidental Humour Co has knocked it out of the park with The Flying Detective. Taking a tale from pages of Alberta History books blended with Accidental Humour’s inventive special effects, we get one high flying adventure that is true theatre magic. After the murder of a police officer, a persistent detective (Coder Porter) with the aid of a spunky military pilot (William Banfield) set off on a manhunt to bring down a mad man. Ambitiously bringing to the stage train hopping, fist fights on a moving train, gun fights, and even aerial flight with near crashes, The Flying Detective is a sight to behold. And on top of the technical achievements, is is also super funny. The Flying Detective is spectacular.”

~ Jean-Paul Fournier of Beer Tent Reviews



4 stars out of 5

~ Janet French of Post Media (The Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, the National Post, The Bow Valley Crag & Canyon, etc, etc…)


“…I also saw The Flying Detective, a trueish story about an aerial police chase in 1919 Alberta, beginning in Edmonton. The show blurb said it would be multimedia. That does not do it justice. They did multimedia in a way that I’ve never seen it done in theatre before. It had its laughs, but it was mainly a drama. And what a drama.

I’m going to call it now: if you have the chance to see one show at this year’s fringe, see [The Flying Detective]. They’re travelling around AB right after the Fringe so it won’t be a holdover, so buy a ticket and go see this show, because it was fucking amazing and it WILL sell out fast. It’s the kind of show you remember years later and wonder that you paid so little to see such a show.”

~ Jason Antonaitis via Facebook


“The Flying Detective makes it plain that technology, not-so-accidental humour and great acting can take local history to new heights! This play propels audiences onto a choreographed journey that has everything- action, heart, comedy, ingenuity, and above all a good old-fashioned time. It’s sure to make you Boeing out of your seat- as shows have been selling out and audiences ending up on their feet at curtain call! Be sure to grab your Fringe tickets while you can, but if not check out Accidental Humour’s website for tour dates before the show goes up, up and away!
#sorrynotsorryforthepuns #accidentalhumour #yegfringe#wherethewildthingsfringe”

Taylor McConaghie via Facebook

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