Having attended eleven Melbourne Magic Festivals so far, one of my long standing traditions each year is to attend the final installment of ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’ – I love this tradition so much that often the very first festival ticket I buy is the one to the very last show of ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’. During the course of the Melbourne Magic Festival, ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’ is the last show to run each night and features a rotation of guest magicians. The finale edition of ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’ is the one to attend however as it features a constant magical stream of performers popping in to perform short pieces of magic. How many performers you ask? Well no one is ever sure but for 2019 the tally exceeded twenty performers! That’s right – OVER TWENTY!
At the helm of this madcap show is Nicholas J Johnson who tries (as much as he can) to keep the show on track. This year he tried to insist the audience had ‘had enough’ (much like a bartender calling last drinks / trying to refuse service to drunk patrons) only to be voraciously shouted down by the audience who wanted more – and more magic we were served. To be honest, at the end of the show most of the audience didn’t want to leave – we’d happily be trapped in that room to watch magic all night if we could.
Naturally there are far too many magicians performing to mention here, however I will mention that an incredibly wide variety of magical pieces are showcased during this show – from sponge ball magic you might see at a children’s magic show right through to prompt card miracles that left audience members shaking their head in disbelief. The magic is swift, as are the changeovers between performers – to blink is to risk missing some of the action. Some special guests at this show didn’t even have shows at the festival and one was even lining up to try and watch the show and was dragged on stage – that’s how surprising the lineup is!
The finale of ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’ is always the most of everything – the MOST magical pieces, the MOST madcap and is often the MOST entertaining to. It is magic at its MOST excessive….but I wouldn’t have it any other way. At the conclusion of this show, my hands were dry from clapping so much and my voice was hoarse but I was so happy. The only question I had left was: what happened to Gary the Magician? (Gary is a much loved special guest who only appears at the last ‘best of the fest’ show).
VERDICT: my hot tip is to book your tickets NOW to ‘The Best of the Magic Fest’ at the 2020 Melbourne Magic Festival! Definitely a festival highlight that consistently surprises and endures.
*PS: seriously though, what happened to Gary? DO I need to place ‘Missing’ posters around town? We miss him and I’m sure his family needs him too. Gary, if you’re out there, please come back. x