The 2018 Melbourne Magic Festival has now vanished for another year – the wands have been packed away, along with the magic suitcases and top hats. I’m always sad to see the festival go because for me, each Melbourne Magic Festival is like an ‘all you can eat” buffet of magic for two solid weeks. Each festival brings the chance to see magic I’ve never seen before, to make new friends and to share magical moments with my friends (that we often reference / reminisce about long after the shows have run).
One of my own ‘post festival’ traditions is that after all the reviews have been written, I compile a ‘top list of shows’. These are the shows that have presented (in my opinion) the most amazing, unforgettable or incredible pieces of magic. The shows that have impressed me and that have really gone that ‘extra mile’ – either in presentation or magical effects or by blowing away my expectations. Each year I’ve compiled this list, the amount of shows on the list have changed- sometimes it’s 5 shows, sometimes it’s 10. This year it is 8 shows! Please enjoy this year’s list below, and congratulations to all those who made the list.
“That Tingling Sensation” performed by Lucy Darling (Carisa Hendrix): By far the most enchanting magical character I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She sets the bar so high in her magical abilities but I also love her dialogue and how sweetly she treats her fans. There are many reasons why I specifically go and see her show twice each year, but one of the reasons is the semi improvised nature of her shows. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a Lucy Darling show then you simply must.
“Personal” performed by Vincent Kuo: Rarely has a magic show had such an effect on me that this one has. Moving stories and beautiful, sublime magic. The only magic show that has made me have a good cry afterwards. Amazing how magic can generate such raw emotions.
“Woody Aragon is a Bald Faced Liar” performed by Woody Aragon: World class card magic presented in a fun, engaging way. I know a show is great if I’m leaning in and am on the edge of my seat to watch the miracles unfold in front of my eyes. A show that engaged all my senses and I loved it.
“DeeDee Darling’s Bubble Magic Show” performed by DeeDee Darling (Carisa Hendrix): The sweetest children’s performer with a thoroughly delightful and surprising show. She’s impressive and irresistible. This show was loads of fun and featured plenty of bubbles, magic, dancing and laughs. DeeDee is THE BEST!
“The Art of Magic & Illusion” performed by The Showmen (Justin Williams and Sam Hume): The show that blew away all my expectations! The Showmen took classics of magic and reimagined them in the most amazing, dangerous and thrilling ways. They certainly know how to harness adrenaline and get their audience’s pulse racing. This show made me excited for magic and reminded me how excited magic shows made me when I first saw magic. The Showmen are definitely ones to watch / keep your eyes on!
“Schrodinger’s Wizard” performed by Mr Marmalade: undoubtedly the most whimsical magic show in this year’s festival but also a show that held many surprises. It was well thought out and put together from a debut festival performer. I have no doubt that Mr Marmalade left everyone feeling enchanted and wanting to see more.
“Ghetto Shaman” performed by Adam Axford: I have to admit that I have a ‘soft spot’ for the brave performers who present a magic show that’s a little different and a little offbeat. I often find that if you take a chance on these sorts of shows, you’ll be grandly rewarded with a truly fantastic adventure. Ghetto Shaman is one of those shows. The magic was great but this show is so much greater than the sum of the magic and therein lies the beauty of the show. Definitely one of the most memorable shows for me (for all the right reasons!)
“The Magic, Comedy and Something Ellis Hour” performed by Tim Ellis (+ special guests): I feel this show deserves a place in my top shows list because I received a lot of enjoyment from the shows I saw. I loved the concept of this show, how easy it was to enjoy with my friends and the lighthearted nature of the show. It was the perfect mix of magic I’d seen before as well as guests’ special magic that I’d never seen. I enjoyed that the show matched the audience of the evening – some nights the show had a more careful progression, and at other times it felt like a crazy game show with bizarre contestants. It was often the perfect show to see at the end of a night out.