Mini Review: ‘Hardcore Mysteries’ by Pierre Ulric

After a busy day of office work on a Thursday, I headed out for a quick dinner and then to the Northcote Town Hall to see Pierre Ulric’s show ‘Hardcore Mysteries’. To be honest, I did not know what to expect. I had missed out on Pierre’s show during the previous festival so I was really keen to see this show (and performer!). This show was full of plenty of mysteries, curiosities and explorations of the mind and imagination. I have a vivid imagination, so I enjoyed this show (and especially the segments where we asked to visualise something). Pierre was a friendly and proficient host, particularly evident during his mind reading and hypnosis segments. The audience seemed shy at first, but Pierre quickly won everyone over with his charming and friendly manner. Personal highlights for me were having the chance to watching some classic magic effects happen right in front of my eyes on stage, and some fantastic metal bending!

Verdict: A great late show for adults, this show will appeal to those who want to see a different style of magic. A show that focuses on mysteries and the magic of the mind. There are times during this show where you will question what you saw (if it really happened or was it a hallucination of the mind?!).

Tickets: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/hardcore-mysteries/

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Mini Review: ‘John Archer – A Magician and A Ukulele’

The second show I saw at the Melbourne Magic Festival on Wednesday night was one of the International headliners of the festival – John Archer. John comes across as a really friendly man; and  I felt like his show was almost like a one man variety show featuring magic, comedy and music (via ukulele). The magic performed was largely comedy magic which (along with plenty of one liners) had the audience laughing throughout the show. I found the show to be light hearted and entertaining.

Verdict: If you’re not sure what to see during the festival, or if you’d prefer a magic show with some other elements thrown in then this is the show for you! Although this show is billed as a ‘family’ show, it definitely appeals more to adults.

Tickets: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/john-archer-a-magician-and-a-ukulele/

Mini Review: ‘Deceptology’ by Nicholas J Johnson

On Wednesday night I was back at the Northcote Town Hall for another evening of magical delights at the Melbourne Magic Festival. The first show I saw early in the evening was ‘Deceptology’ performed by Nicholas J Johnson. Upon entering the theatre the audience was greeted with a fascinating looking set – a bookcase brimming with all manner of interesting artifacts, pictures and books. Nicholas appeared, looking like some sort of cool professor (or someone who works in a university) rather than a magician. I expected this show to be magical, with plenty of references and nods to science – I was not disappointed! The combo of science and magic was intriguing, and provided plenty of clever moments (with some laughs along the way). My favourite moments in the show were Nicholas’ smooth card magic, the interaction with audience members and the glimpses into the human mind (especially true for a lucky audience member!).

VERDICT: A magic show with an intriguing theme and narrative, which I found very enjoyable.  Ages 10+ would likely enjoy this show.

Tickets: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/session/deceptology/

Review: ‘Nick Kay – Up Close and Personal

During the 2016 Melbourne Magic Festival, a couple of friends and I went out to see Nick Kay’s show “Nick Kay – Up Close and Personal”. Nick Kay showed us all delightful and surprising magic, all performed with his naturally cheeky personality. I was excited to see this show as I had seen plenty of Nick Kay’s stage magic previously, however less of his close up magic. My friends and I were not disappointed! We gasped with surprise and laughed at many points during the show.

VERDICT:  A personal highlight was storytime with Nick. This show is ideal for teens and up. Do see this show before it disappears!!

Tickets: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/nick-kay-2/

The 2016 Melbourne Magic Festival has commenced

Each year (since 2008) in my hometown of Melbourne, the Melbourne Magic Festival appears during the Winter school holidays at the Northcote Town Hall. This festival has just commenced for 2016, and I’m excited to be attending approx 21 shows. While I won’t be posting lengthy reviews here, I aim to post a short paragraph and a photo for each show that I see. I will include a ‘verdict’ on who may enjoy the show, too, so if you have some time over the next 2 weeks you can come along and see the shows for yourself.

The Melbourne Magic Festival does have daytime shows for children and families, but plenty of magic shows are on in the evenings that appeal to adults. In addition to all the shows there is a communal area for people to meet, watch some free magic events and visit the bar. I’ll certainly be spending most of my evenings after 5pm at the Melbourne Magic Festival (in addition to much of my next 2 weekends), however if you get a chance to come along please do – I’m sure you’ll find it an enjoyable experience.

For more information, please visit: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/

Review – Top Hat Tuesdays – June Show

The June show of Top Hat Tuesdays is always extra special as it is their birthday show. In June, Top Hat Tuesdays turned 4 – which is a fantastic effort as it means the show has been running monthly for the past 4 years. The Top Hat Tuesdays team of Bayden Hammond, Dom Chambers, Siew-Li Hammond and myself (Tay) put in plenty of time and effort behind the scenes to ensure the show runs smoothly each month. Each year, the birthday show brings extra excitement and fun to the audience with ‘fan favourite’ magicians appearing and this show was no different. The man known as ‘Australia’s Honest Con Man’ – Nicholas J Johnson – hosted the show and opened the evening with a production of money inside a special box! That certainly grabbed the attention of the audience, and set the crazy pace of the evening to come.

        
The first magician to appear on stage was one of my personal favourites – Glenn Hamilton. It is rare to see Glenn perform at public events so I was super excited to see his hilarious brand of magic and to share his performance with my friends. It was perfect for Glenn to appear at the 4th birthday show, as he is usually performing at kids’ parties. Glenn appeared with 2 paper bags – one of which he used to magically make items appear and disappear from. Honestly after seeing so many items appear from his magical paper bag, I felt like I should really get my eyes checked! Those who have been lucky enough to see Glenn perform before will know that he performs a range of classic magic effects with plenty of vibrant humour. I was so happy and excited to see Glenn perform some of my personal favourite magic routines featuring magic rope and balloon puppies. Glenn is a crowd favourite, and by the end of his set I was clutching my sides as they hurt due to so much laughter. You should have heard the cheers and applause after his set! It was a great start to the birthday show.


Appearing next on the stage is the ‘Woman of Deception’ Cath Jamison. Cath’s magic performance was full of audience participation, and plenty of danger and mystery. Cath has such a strong rapport with her helpers and audience that brings an extra dimension to her dangerous card routine. With every witty comment and laugh, you don’t really want her act to end. I like a bit of danger with my magic, so I was thoroughly entertained and amused.
  

After interval, Melbourne’s magical gangster – Al Cappuccino- took to the stage in his trademark sharp suit with his gangster gun.Al knows how to make an entrance and to hold the attention of the audience. Al is suave and very much looks the part – even his accessories (whether it be a flower, cigarette or pool cue) are on point. Al performed some well themed magic effects, including a fascinating enchanted rope and billiard ball magic, all with some great facial expressions.


  
Prior to the final act of the evening, Nicholas J Johnson returned with multiplying eye balls (which was unexpected!) accompanied by an explanation of how the human brain is fooled and how the brain is stuck in the past which influences what you think. I liked this, as it brought a ‘sciencey’ feel to the show (and I personally find the human brain / mind to be a fascinating subject). This leads us to the final act for the birthday show: Elio Simonetti. Elio is a dynamic magician, who presents classic magic but with plenty of panache and flair. Elio showed the audience a magic newspaper, and moved onto dove magic and some magic with fire. Anyone who has seen one of Elio’s performances would know that he has to include doves (to much ‘ooohing and ahhhing’ of the audience of course). Elio enlisted the assistance of some (well trained) audience members to help him with some magic involving small hoops and a long rainbow scarf. Elio’s performance was full of enthusiasm (both from performer and audience) and smooth magic. It was a delight to watch Elio’s magic, and I hope to see more again soon.


In it seems like no time the birthday show came to an end, however I felt happy. I’m truly fortunate to assist with a magic show that has been running monthly for 4 years, and to share in so many wonderful magic moments with friends. The birthday show of Top Hat Tuesday is always a highlight in my calendar, so I hope you can add it to yours.

Verdict: The birthday show of Top Hat Tuesday shouldn’t be missed! Extra effort clearly goes into this show, and there are always giveaways. For the tickets and news of the next Top Hat Tuesday show, check out: https://tophattuesdays.com/

Review – ‘Incantato’ by David Key

   

On a lazy Sunday afternoon in May, a good friend and I decided that we did not want another weekend to pass us by without going out and enjoying some magic. We arrived in the city at Speakeasy HQ, to be warmly welcomed by the host with the most – Roy Maloy. Roy opened the show with some of his very clever balloon twisting. This twisting isn’t quite like the usual balloon twisting you may have seen, and Roy’s creations come with a great story. If you haven’t seen Roy show off his ballooning talents, then I encourage you to see him in action someday soon! This was, of course, to get the audience warmed up an excited for an afternoon of magic.

David Key appeared onstage in a fine outfit, including his iconic red hat and special sneakers to a loud round of applause. The audience members looked intrigued and keen to see what magical feats David had in store for us all. David commenced his act with some smooth rope magic, accompanied by a beautiful story. This intrigued me and suddenly I was transfixed by David and his magical talents! As with many magic shows, the audience do not get away without some chances to help out the magician. There were no shortages of opportunities to help David with some of his magic and with each audience helper throughout the show, David had a very friendly manner. Indeed, David is probably one of the friendlies magicians I have ever seen (and met) and he certainly uses this to cast a spell over his audiences. Magic with money, rope and cards featured in this very charming show. Audible gasps were regularly heard in the audience so it is clear David is an accomplished magician and impressed the audience.

    

 Interval time at Speakeasy HQ is a fine time to grab a drink, or in my friend’s case to grab a tasty snack from the bar menu. After the interval, David reappeared onstage in a new outfit featuring a fabulous sparkly jacket. The tone of the show changed a little – things were running at a slower pace. Promptly, the audience discovered why – a lucky audience member was about to play a game of ‘Russian Roulette’ with David! During the ‘Russian Roulette’ routine, I heard many more gasps and cries of ‘AHHH!’ from the audience. You could cut the tension in the room with a knife. Nevertheless, I find this routine enjoyable – it excites me! If you haven’t seen a magical version of ‘Russian Roulette’ then come and see David Key! Nearing the end of the show, David performed some fast object productions before a sweet finale. The kind of finale that stays with you long after you see the show.

  
After the show, the audience had the chance to meet David. This was nice to see as many people (and performers) have busy lives so to get the opportunity to meet a performer post show is special. This show was exciting and full of surprises. My friend and I left the theatre feeling happy and as though we’d had a perfect afternoon.We’d laughed, gasped and felt so lucky to have seen such an enjoyable and surprising show.

Verdict: definitely an enjoyable show. David Key’s magic (and his personality) make for a fantastic and surprising show. I literally had no idea what to expect next! If you have the chance to see this show, I recommend it.

*I attended this show as a guest of Speakeasy HQ.

Tickets: I saw this show at Speakeasy HQ. I believe the current run for ‘Incantato’ at this venue has come to a close, however there are a variety of other shows on. Check out the website: http://www.speakeasy-hq.com/

David will be performing ‘Incantato’ at The Melbourne Magic Festival, held at the Northcote Town Hall. Tickets and more information can be found at:
http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/incantato/

 

Review: Top Hat Tuesdays – May Show

Early in May, I gathered a bunch of friends and we made our way to The 86 to watch another monthly installment of Top Hat Tuesdays. The May show was hosted by a charming, suave American performer – Tim Motley. Tim opened the show with plenty of jokes, and a card trick with an audience member. Tim proved he has plenty of rapport with the audience.

  

 The first magician to grace the stage this evening was a young magician by the name of LJ. LJ the magician presented a clever and amusing chef themed performance, which the audience lapped up. LJ certainly knows how to make the audience laugh, and had some great one liners. Aside from the magic LJ also presented one of his fantastic escapes, enlisting the assistance of some lucky audience members. Speaking to some audience members at interval, we were all very impressed with this young Melbourne magician. If you get the chance to see LJ the magician at an event, I certainly recommend it. You should see what he gets up to with a roll of glad wrap!

   
Next on stage in the show was one third of the highly acclaimed magical group ‘Gentlemen of Deceit’ – Vyom Sharma. Vyom gave one lucky audience member the chance to experience some special ‘pure magic’ which happened in front of her very eyes. As someone who sees quite a lot of magic, it was great to see an audience member in such a moment of wonder. As I tend to get absorbed into magic when I witness it happening on stage, it was a lovely moment to take a step back and focus on a single audience member having a personal magic moment. Much of the magic Vyom included in his set was designed to make the audience question their own mind, with predictions and mysteries galore. I especially enjoyed Vyom’s money magic (with the money disappearing and appearing in other places).

Tim Motley then reappeared with some entertaining mind reading and handwriting analysis, before introducing the next act – the energetic and talented Raymond Truong. I have been fortunate enough to see Raymond Truong perform many times, but for those who haven’t his acts are full of fantastic physical comedy, mime stunts and card manipulations. During this show, Raymond also involved some audience members in a hilarious ‘coin and bucket’ routine which had the audience laughing and cheering. You can’t help but laugh and smile during Raymond’s performances, as he brings an extra dimension to magic and has expertly timed physical comedy.

   

The headline act for the May show was a very popular magician in the Melbourne magic scene…in fact if you have seen magic in Melbourne it is a good chance it was the spellbinding magic of Anthony DeMasi! Anthony’s shows are never complete without his menagerie of bunny and dove friends. A friend of mine on my table was handed a bunny in a hat to cuddle, which elicited many coo’s and gentle squealing from all on the table. Anthony is so kind to let audience members mind and pat his rabbits while we all enjoy his magic. Anthony’s performances often end up being madcap journeys into the world of magic, and this performance was no different. Many moments of wonder were created through Anthony’s magic with serviettes, rope, cards and plenty of gags. This style of magic (and great use of the stage space) gives a surreal aspect to the performance. Anthony’s magic takes me to another place, so if you ever get a chance to see him perform please take that opportunity!

   
After the show, my friends and I were all buzzing  – we’d seen some fantastic magic, laughed until our sides hurt and even had the chance to do some bunny cuddling. What more could you want during a magic show?


VERDICT: The standard of shows at Top Hat Tuesday remains high and with the lineup changing every month, there’s plenty of variety and fun to be had for regular and new audience members alike.

Tickets: https://tophattuesdays.com/

*Disclaimer: while I do assist the Top Hat Tuesdays team with marketing and audience management, I continue to support the show and pay for my own ticket.

More blog posts and reviews to be updated soon!

You may have noticed a lack of blog posts and reviews over the past month…I assure you that this is not due to laziness or not getting the chance to go out and see shows. My day job is event management, and the month of May is conferencing month. So, while I was fortunate enough to attend shows, my increased workload (and a few other ‘life matters’) has meant that I haven’t had a chance to address the backlog of reviews until now. Hope you can settle down with a hot beverage and read along, as I’ve been on a few adventures!