The Rockford File review at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh – ‘great idea that needs better dramaturgy’
If The Rockford Files is the main point of reference in your show, then chances are your expected audience will be in the over-50s age bracket. Not that James Garner’s classic private eye drama has a huge amount to do with the plot of The Rockford File. It’s rather a device on which Liam Grundy and Jonathan Holloway – aka Badback Mountain – hang this oddball buddy story.
As Jeremy Rockford and Harry Holland, they are prepping for their upcoming Edinburgh Fringe debut, on which their hopes for the future hang. Their musical homage to Jim Rockford may seem niche but in fact, it’s a cover-up for a heist that will catapult them from the wilderness years to a beach bar in Malibu. On the way, they trip out some original songs, with a distinctly blues/country flavour.
Grundy and Holloway are far greater musicians than they are actors, and the songs, including Mike Post’s title music from the 1970s show, are the high points of this whimsical piece. The acting has fleeting moments of genuine pathos but mostly it’s awkward and perfunctory. Giles Croft’s direction could be tighter, but otherwise this is a great idea strongly in need of proper dramaturgy.