So, we’re coming to the end of my MMF 2017 Mini Reviews….thanks to all those who’ve been regular readers and those that have stopped by to read my blog. One of my long standing traditions of the MMF is to attend the last ‘Best of the Fest’ show each year. Host Nicholas J Johnson goes out of his way to cram in so many performers into the last show that it ends up being a madcap display of swift magic, set in a crazy ‘race against the clock’. Whereas most ‘Best of the Fest’ editions have a host and 3 performers, the last ‘Best of the Fest’ includes any performers Nicholas can encourage / bribe / coerce to be on stage.
Naturally there are way too many individual performers to mention here, however there were some outstanding performers: newly crowned Australian Junior Champion of BOTH Stage and Close-Up magic, Prue Spencer, treated the audience to an entertaining card routine; David Chandler returned with his whimsical routine with an assistant from the audience (who was charmingly getting into the spirit of the routine); and special appearances by festival organisers Tim Ellis and Lee Cohen. ‘Simon and Davefunkel’ teamed up to wow the audience with their usual flair and comedy, and the show even had performers (like ‘Dom and Dumber’)racing from their just finished shows to treat the audience to something speedy and surprising.
MVP of the night went to the elusive “Gary the Magician” who is also known as Nicholas J Johnson’s nemesis! Nicholas couldn’t be in the room while Gary was performing which was a huge shame, as Gary had my boyfriend and I (along with other audience members I’m sure) in fits of laughter. There was one point where I was crying with laughter up in the back row of the theatre – Gary’s witty rejoinders and candor with his audience helpers became too much for me to handle. Gary’s exuberance over presenting his card magic to the audience, mixed with him feigning indifference the next moment made for so many pieces of pure comedy gold. I hadn’t seen Gary the magician perform before now, however he helped make the night shine and I sincerely hope to watch him perform again!
The final ‘Best of the Fest’ always ends with a story told via playing cards, and like every other year that I’ve seen it, this highlight endures. Each story has a theme provided by the audience, and it’s such a special routine as there are many points where both performers and audience members have no idea in which direction the story will end up. Despite fatigue setting for some performers, this final show has it’s own charm and that’s part of the appeal – you never know who is going to appear next!