On a slightly chilly evening, audience members gathered excitedly within a studio theatre at the Gasworks to witness Creatrix Tiara’s debut magic show during the Melbourne fringe festival, titled “Queer Lady Magician”. The title of the show describes Tiara to a tee, however this is a magic show that delves beyond titles and labels – it is a show with a strong social commentary and narrative behind it.
I enjoyed that this show has an MC (Sonia) who was dressed in an outfit echoing a circus ringmaster. Sonia appeared on stage a few times throughout the show, to make introductions and to almost ‘keep the show on track’ in some parts. Sassy and witty, the audience took a shine to Sonia each time she appeared on stage. I find that many magic shows do not feature an MC, however this seemed to be an indication that around every corner, this was not a ‘standard’ magic show.
Creatrix Tiara made an exciting entrance onstage, and the crowd responded with a roar of applause and cheers. Dressed in a beautiful sparkly outfit complete with a tailcoat adorned with more shiny and sparkly elements, Creatrix knew she’s the performer everyone was there to see but didn’t let that sway her from diving right into her stories adorned with plenty of magical surprises.
Creatrix Tiara’s show explored many stories – personal stories from Tiara’s childhood and family, right through to poignant stories regarding heartbreak, and various challenges (racism, stereotyping, feelings of not belonging). Many stories were highly relatable – even if one isn’t a queer lady magician, similar narratives course through our collective lives at one point or another. Creatrix Tiara’s stories evoked many emotions throughout the show – at times the audience sat in tense silence, while at other times there was laughter and nods of solidarity / agreement by audience members. There were some moments where I wished I could have reached out and provided a hug.
In terms of the magical elements, I could see that Tiara had carefully selected magical effects to accompany the stories and I have to say that everything was perfectly matched. Much of the magic selected was ‘classic’ magic, but with Creatrix Tiara’s own exciting spin and twists on it. A highlight is the cups and balls routine, which had the audience gasping in surprise.
The star of this show is undoubtedly Creatrix Tiara, however the show features a small cast of other characters – namely Chadbury and Caliope – who each have their important parts to play and greatly enhanced the storyline as well as helping to elicit reactions from the audience. They were each convincing and played their roles with perfection.
This show was not afraid to address some stereotypes of magicians / magic – namely can magicians be honest or trustworthy when they deceive and manipulate for a living? Are manipulations inherently bad (or can they be good)? Stereotypes of male magicians being ‘creepy’ and treating females as assistants / props (rather than females also being magicians in their own right) were also explored, which I found refreshing. Despite the serious subject matter in places, this is a very enjoyable show and I encourage all to go along and see it – it’s a jewel of the Melbourne Fringe festival program.
VERDICT: This is so much more than just a magic show. It’s a magic show with heart, soul and some thrilling surprises along the way. I encourage you to leave all your misconceptions about magic outside the door and step into Creatrix Tiara’s world of wonder. Potent poignant prestidigitation!
Tickets and further information: Creatrix Tiara: Queer Lady Magician runs from September 13th-15th at the Gasworks.
*Disclaimer: I attended the show as a guest of the performer.