Mini Review ‘Welcome to the Movies Pt 2’ performed by Peter Nguyen

In a previous Melbourne Magic Festival, I missed out on Peter Nguyen’s show “Welcome to the Movies”. Suffice to say in 2016 I was keen not to miss that show’s sequel: “Welcome to the Movies, Pt 2”. Just like a trip to a cinema, Peter’s show commenced with the ‘standard’ sort of movie messages you’d see at a usual cinema. Instead of watching a reel of previews, audience members were treated to a cinematic mashup of popular movie sequels prior to the show (think Star Wars franchise, The Matrix, Avengers, Batman, Men in Black etc). Peter introduced himself as a long time fan of the movies, and this was demonstrated to the audience through Peter’s excitement at showing us magical effects which he connected to some of his favourite films and his enthusiasm for magic (and movies!). I enjoyed the way Peter presented his magic, and then connected it to popular films. As an example, a card prediction (involving a rising card) was connected to a scene from a Harry Potter film. Peter used film props and audience members to his advantage, making this show one of the most entertaining of the festival. The finale was clever and surprising. If I was a movie reviewer, I would give this show 4 stars!

Verdict: enjoyable magic and this show was suitable for the family. Indeed, Peter ensured that children in the audience had a chance to help out while not forgetting about the adults in the room too. This show had plenty of magic but also some laughs (and of course, movie references). Highly enjoyable, and I do hope Peter bring this show back to the festival next year…you never know, coming soon there could be a ‘Welcome to the Movies Pt 3!’.

 

Mini Review – ‘Top Hat Tuesdays: July Show’

As July in Melbourne is Magic Festival season, the July edition of Top Hat Tuesdays was included in the festival program. Indeed, the July installment of Top Hat Tuesdays was billed as a “Magic Festival Showcase”. This show lived up to its name as many of the magicians on the bill that night had shows in the festival. The show was hosted by Dom Chambers (of ‘Dom and Dumber’ fame) who was hell bent on destroying an audience member’s phone (all in good faith of course!). Local magician (and supporter of Top Hat Tuesday) Scott Smith commenced the evening of magical entertainment with comedy magic and some amusing predictions. Scott’s performance included plenty of audience participation (especially from yours truly!) which garnered many laughs and much enjoyment from the audience. Pierre Ulric astounded the audience with his metal bending skills and profound audience illustration skills (without even setting eyes on his subject!). The look of disbelief on the face of an audience member as Pierre bent cutlery  with his mind right in front of her eyes was a sight to behold. Lawson Reeves (one half of ‘2 guys, 1 show, no idea’) brought a hat load of fun and witty charm to his performance, featuring all manner of predictions and audience participation. Micky Wyld rounded out the magical evening with his supremely entertaining style, ensuring that he had a special magical ‘assistant’ chosen from the audience and had the audience in hysterics with his on stage antics and humour. Judging by audience member reactions during and after the show, a grand time was had by all.

Even when the Melbourne Magic Festival has come to a close Top Hat Tuesday lives on as Melbourne’s monthly magic show, which testament to how much Melbourne enjoys the magical arts.

Mini Review: ‘Best of the Magic Fest’

Each evening of the Melbourne Magic Festival at 9:30pm, a special late night magic show called ‘Best of the Magic Fest’ is presented. Nicholas J Johnson hosts the show, however the performers for each show are different. So if you’re a fan of staying up late to watch magic, you could attend this show multiple nights in a row and watch completely different performers (and performances!). I attended on Sunday night, and the theme was ‘Royal Rumble’ – each magician only had a narrow window of time to perform before a bell rang and the next performer was introduced. The magicians performing that evening included Josh Staley, Nick Kay, Dom Chambers, Ben Sheldon, Mr Marmalade, Ben Orson and Pierre Ulric. Two special assistants from the audience took their places at each end of a table which sat at the front of the theatre. These special assistants were able to see all of the incredible magic up close, while the audience could marvel at the miracles happening from farther away (but also enjoying all the facial expressions from the two assistants). The evening’s magic focused on card magic (where all manner of cards disappeared, reappeared, changed places and so on) however some magicians also used rope and even a pair of iPod earbuds to convey their magic to the audience. The rapid pace of the magic unfolding and the magicians changing made this show an exciting one to watch – the tension was palpable on more than one occasion! This show was fast, furious and fantastic!

VERDICT: Definitely a show for adults, and it’s in a late timeslot however this show is NEVER the same and has a cult following in the festival. If you do plan to attend, I’d recommend attending on the last evening (Saturday July 9th).

Tickets:
http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/the-best-of-the-magic-fest/

 

Mini Review: ‘A Night of Variety’ performed by Raymond Truong

Not one to waste an opportunity to see more magic, on Sunday evening I returned to the Melbourne Magic Festival at the Northcote Town Hall to see Raymond Truong’s performance of ‘A night of Variety’. Raymond appeared in his dapper suit, with a wide smile on his face as he explained to the audience that he aimed to take them back to the old days of vaudeville (which is typically a presentation of different feats and skills). Raymond swiftly commenced his show, enlisting the help of various volunteers from the audience. I particularly enjoyed Raymond’s cups and balls routine and his interactions with his volunteers. Predictions were made and cards appeared and disappeared in different places. This show really is a showcase of Raymond’s many talents – some of which include physical comedy, juggling and magic (of course!). I have seen Raymond perform many times and one thing I relish about his performances is that I always laugh, enjoy his show and leave with a big smile.

VERDICT: A very entertaining show, suitable for families (children 7 and older would likely enjoy this show). Certainly if you’re looking to see a show during the magic festival that isn’t exclusively magic and contains variety, then this is the show for you!

Tickets:
http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/a-night-of-variety/

Mini Review: ‘Cardistry Cubed’ performed by Lucas Itrawan and Ash Hodgkinson

On a busy Sunday afternoon at the Melbourne Magic Festival, I was pleased to be able to attend a thoroughly entertaining show by “Cardistry” – comprised of two fourteen year old magicians – Lucas Itrawan and Ash Hodgkinson, who are from Sydney. When many fourteen year olds would be spending their school holidays lazing about or watching time slip by at a shopping centre, these two lads have chosen to spend some time in Melbourne entertaining audiences with their card flair and wit. Melbourne audiences were keen to see what “Cardistry” had in store as the theatre was packed! The show opened with a charming piano piece with some wicked card manipulations by Ash Hodgkinson.
Lucas and Ash are also big Rubik’s Cube fans (as alluded to in their show title) and consistently demonstrated their skills with cubes throughout the show. Watching a scrambled Rubik’s cube being solved in under 40 seconds is a feat to be seen! This was a highly interactive show, and the audience members that were chosen to help out were excited to do so. The performers were ever appreciative for assistance from the audience, and for the support from the Melbourne crowd. This show was like a big magic cube party!

VERDICT: This show is suitable for families (children  7+ would likely enjoy the show). I’m sure anyone who watches “Cardistry” will be stunned by the dexterity with which Lucas and Ash are able to handle cards and cubes, and their ability to put on a very entertaining show. If you ever see “Cardistry” appearing near you, then please go and see their show. In addition to being card and cube experts, the lads are polite and truly appreciate the support from audiences and fans. What more could a magic fan want?

Mini Review: ‘The Fairy Magic Show’ performed by Lee Cohen

On Sunday afternoon I got dressed in my purple fairy outfit and flew over to the Northcote Town Hall for an afternoon of magic at the Melbourne Magic Festival. Upon entering the theatre (with many other small fairies and elves), the audience was greeted with relaxing music and birdsong. I felt like I had been transported to another world. Fairy Lee appeared in a stunning purple fairy dress and her fabulous shimmery fairy wings, and opened the show with a beautiful song. This added to the serene nature of the show and encouraged the audience to channel their inner fairy. Fairy theme aside, this show was magical – Fairy Lee’s magical forest friends made appearances (and disappearances!) and card magic was also included. This show included plenty of audience interaction and participation (by the entire audience – including all the adults!), which took me by surprise. At many points throughout the show, Fairy Lee encouraged the audience to do some magical hand movements and to say the magic words in order to help her (and the magic) along. Fairy Lee’s finale had the audience squealing and gasping with excitement.

Verdict: A very pleasant and entertaining trip to fairy land! Fairy Lee is a splendid host and magician. This show brought much joy to my heart and I left feeling the most relaxed and serene I have felt after any magic show..ever! I felt so lucky to be able to see this show as I have missed it in previous years. If you are a fairy fan and get the chance to see this show (either at the next Melbourne Magic Festival or elsewhere) then I do recommend it! This show is suitable for children / fairies 5 years and up (however, younger fairies are welcome to come along too!).

Mini Review: ‘Simon & Shoot & Davefunkel Backstage’

On Saturday night, a lively bunch of friends and I visited the Melbourne Magic Festival to see a show featuring 3 fantastic magicians – Simon Coronel and Shoot Ogawa (who are both from LA) and local magic star Dave Lee. I thoroughly enjoyed the structure / narrative of this show-  being that the audience were actually in a Chinese restaurant. Aside from watching some superb and skillful magic from all three performers, the audience was also taken ‘backstage’ as the magicians made witty comments about each other, tried to ‘out-do’ each other in the magical stakes and discussed what to do next.

A personal highlight for me was watching Shoot Ogawa’s flawless silent magic act. Seriously found it hard to believe what my eyes were seeing! Plenty of smooth moves and object transformations had the audience transfixed in wonder. Comedy routines from Simon and Dave impressed and demonstrated their prowess as audience favourites.

Verdict: Undoubtedly one of my festival highlights so far. At the end of the show, I could feel the audience was on the verge of giving these three expertly talented magicians a standing ovation. All my friends thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and it was a great feeling to share some moments of awe with my friends.

This was the final run of that particular show for the festival, however if you do have the opportunity to see performances in the future by Simon Coronel, Shoot Ogawa or Dave Lee then I can’t recommend them highly enough. You won’t regret attending any of their shows. Simon Coronel does have a solo magic show at the Melbourne Magic Festival called ‘Things by Simon’. Check out more information via the link below:
http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/things-by-simon/

Mini Review: ‘Dream Time’ performed by Anthony DeMasi

On Friday night I returned to the Melbourne Magic Festival at the Northcote Town Hall with great excitement to see Anthony DeMasi’s show “Dream Time”. Anthony is one of Melbourne’s most well known magical performers, and has been performing magic for 20 years. This show was billed as a celebration of his 20 years in magic. I took my boyfriend along to this show as he usually doesn’t get to see the magical arts. We both had so much fun! From Anthony’s lovely personality and great sense of humour to all of his rabbit friends, this show truly has something for everyone. “Dream Time” included many classics of magic – plenty of items appeared and disappeared and there were some fun moments of audience participation. There was also a sweet message included in the show which was perfect.

Verdict: A show that is full of surprises and so much fun that time seemed to speed up! I left wanting to see more, however I was very pleased that the audience could pat the rabbits after the show.

Tickets: Final show is on TONIGHT (July 2nd), so be sure to come along and join in the fun:
http://melbournemagicfestival.com/speaker/dream-time/