On a hot Summer evening in Melbourne, my partner and I ventured out to the bespoke and exclusive Laneway Theatre (within an inner city suburb) to enjoy the premiere of Tim Ellis’ new magic show, titled “ASPYCADABRA”. For those of you unaware, Tim Ellis is synonymous with magic in Melbourne – during the show, Tim mentions that over the years he has run a magic shop, he runs /organises The Melbourne Magic Festival and now runs his own theatre too. Upfront in the show, Tim explains that he has Asperger’s Syndrome (or Autism Spectrum Disorder as it has now been categorised under) and sometimes refers to himself as an ‘Aspy’ – hence the name of the show.
You may think that the subject matter within this show could get a bit serious, however I found that Tim treated Asperger’s Syndrome with care whilst also being candid. I assure you there were some laughs and lighthearted moments during the show and Tim was keen to project some of the advantages of Asperger’s (especially helping him to succeed in his profession, and have a sort of collection of ‘superpowers’). The downsides to having Asperger’s were also mentioned – but not in a ‘poor me’ fashion – rather a trade off of skills (gaining some skills at the expense of others).
I enjoyed the personal nature of this show as it gave the audience a chance to learn more about the magician themselves. In the magical world of smoke and mirrors – where nothing is as it seems -I relished the chance to discover more about Tim and his background. Almost part TED talk, part magic show, each piece of magic was carefully selected to accompany a piece of dialogue or a short story relating to a strength or weakness of Asperger’s. Speaking of the magic, I won’t spoil too much here but along with some pieces of magic that Tim regularly performs, there was a piece that made everyone gasp with surprise. It was an incredible feat of magic that left audience members with their jaws on the floor! Children were in the audience on opening night, many of them chanting “HOW did he do that?!” I also personally enjoyed the messages conveyed via card magic (especially relating to trying to ‘fit in’).
There were many personal messages in the show, but the one that resonated with me (and that was carried all the way through the show) is that everyone is unique – and that is something that should be celebrated. In a society and world that tends to want everyone to act and work a certain way, there’s something liberating about celebrating everyone’s unique qualities. Indeed, Tim mentions that everyone had their role and part to play in society no matter their background or individual differences. Tim also opened up a segment of question time during the show, which I feel enhanced the audience’s learning. At the end of the show, it felt nice to have seen some fantastic magic and to have learnt more about the performer at the same time.
VERDICT: A thought provoking and candid show well worth your time. Part TED talk and part magic show “ASPYCADABRA” is as entertaining as it is informative, thought provoking and clever. I encourage everyone to come and see this show – it is so worthwhile.
– this show is suited to teens upwards
– Disclaimer: my partner and I attended as guests of the performer
Tickets and further information: