Each year during the two week winter school holidays in Melbourne, the Northcote Town Hall plays host to the Melbourne Magic Festival (MMF). This year, the MMF is celebrating 10 years which is a wonderful achievement. Each magical week in the festival begins with a special Gala show. Earlier this week, a lovely friend and I were enthralled by the Stage Magic Gala. The Gala was hosted by the super friendly Nicholas J Johnson (also known as ‘the honest con man’) who introduced the acts of the evening and showed off some magic of his own. Nicholas is a man of many talents! I won’t go into too many fine details here, but as the name of the show suggests each performer presented their on style of stage magic – think large props, assistants helping and lots of comedy thrown into the mix.
While each performer was fantastic and thoroughly entertaining, there were a few standout performances that warrant further mentions. Show opening duo ‘Dom and Dumber’ (magicians Dom Chambers and Bayden Hammond) showed off not only their mystifying magic but also their trademark comedy style. Their bottle routine finished with a surprising twist that left the audience gasping.
I was particularly pleased to see international magician Simon Coronel back in town, bringing his stylish and though provoking magic to citizens of Melbourne. Simon performed an enjoyable light-hearted set involving a helper from the audience. Judging by the smile on the helper’s face and the laughs from the audience, everyone was ‘along for the ride’.
One thing that I find refreshing about magic is that no 2 shows (even of the same performer or show) are exactly the same. Young magician David Chandler took to the stage as his alter ego “The Storyteller”. Resplendent in his vest and coat, the Storyteller seems to live in a world of stories, and storybook characters. Referencing his show (featuring a magical mailbox) the Storyteller showed the audience his special magic wand and called for an assistant from the audience. Whilst I won’t spoil exactly what happened when the assistant waved the Storyteller’s wand, I will say that audience was thoroughly impressed with the magic within. David was able to invoke so much joy from the littlest of assistants, and in doing so fill the room with joy and wonder too. A very polished performer, I look forward to seeing David’s show at the MMF this year.
I enjoyed the fact that each performer in the gala had their own show on during the festival. It’s a great show to use as a ‘festival sampler’ – if you want to see more from a particular performer, it is easy to remember them and grab a flyer for their show. With only one Stage Gala (and one Close Up Gala) show per festival, I highly recommend booking a ticket early.
Note: I attended this event as a guest of the MMF