MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Big Bobby

Big Bobby – image supplied

Recently I was lucky to sit down with Big Bobby to learn more about his MMF show “Check” , his invisible assistant Rhodneey, and to explore his rare phobia….read on to discover more about this madcap chap!

Hello Big Bobby, is ‘Check’ your debut at the Melbourne Magic Festival? Describe your show in 3 words.
Yes CHECK is our first show at the MMF! Three words to sum up our show would be fun, imaginative and kaos.

How did you get the name Big Bobby? 
Well, let’s just say I like donuts and gravity is getting to me! Originally my character’s name was Bobby, one day a small kid looked up at me and called me ‘Big Bobby’ and it stuck.

What’s your favorite aspect of performing for families and kids? 
I love making kids and taller people laugh. The sound of laughter is one of life’s greatest treasures and we will be digging for it. When an older person acts a little silly it creates pure delight for children, throw in some tricks that actually work and everyone is entertained.

I have a pet rubber duck called Huey. May he attend your show with me? 
Absolutely not! When I was a baby my mother was strolling my pram past a rubber duck factory. That fateful day there was an explosion and I haven’t been the same since. Fear of rubber ducks is a real condition; I saw it in a duckumentary. Security will be scanning for rubber ducks, just be warned!

What’s the inspiration behind your show ‘Check’ ? 
I did a lot of training with Christopher T Magician and Anthony DeMasi. On top of that I came to the ( Melbourne Magic) festival for years and studied the greats on how they went about it: Tim Ellis, the maestro of magic (and festival director), Carisa Hendrix and David Kaye to name a few. At the other end of the spectrum were the dynamic duo (from Showmen Productions) Sam Hume and Justin Williams. From the lectures and performances, I distilled some of the things I had learned. A good show needs tension, fun, originality, pace and skill. In the show, Rhodneey, the antagonist, has forgotten to check all the equipment and that is going to create mayhem! Hopefully, we can pull together to save the show from certain disaster and rescue the sausage dogs from a 4 week afterpay sale.  

Gosh it sounds like such an exciting show (I’m giggling already) though my pet rubber duck Huey will be sad he can’t attend – I’ll just have to bring my wooden duck Henrietta along for the fun magic!

If you’re looking for a fun magic show to take your family to, check out “Check” appearing only on Friday July 1st at Big U Gym in St Albans. Tickets are available here.

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Jo Clyne

Jo Clyne – image supplied

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jo Clyne to hear more about her exciting new magic show titled “Unusual Objects”. Another mysterious show title. What exactly makes an object unusual? Read on to discover more about Jo and her show.

Describe your show in 3 words.
Whimsical, quirky and spondifferous (I put that last one in so people would look it up. Isn’t it a great word? I’m going to start using it more regularly…)

In your opinion, what makes an object unusual?
That’s a great question. I would like to answer it, but I accidentally inputted the title ‘Usual Objects’ onto my ticketing page when first advertising the show. I’m guessing that the people who booked before I fixed the typo are hoping to see a show about ‘Usual Objects’, in which case I am more than happy to share my expertise on paperclips, bottle tops and car keys.

What is the inspiration for ‘Unusual Objects?’
In my non-magician life, I am an historian specialising in museum studies. This show is basically a self-indulgent festival of stuff I like.
I’m not a big collector, but I have acquired a few ‘unusual objects’ over the years. My favourites are a medicinal nineteenth century electric shock machine, an engraved World War I sweetheart brooch, a piece of coprolite (fossilised dinosaur poo – thanks for asking), a glass eye and a five-leaf clover I found in our backyard. Basically, I like objects that help me tell stories of the weird and wonderful. This show may also ruin your childhood. When people come to my shows, they see extreme close-up illusion, but they also find out about stuff.

What is your aim for the 2022 Melbourne Magic Festival?
I think that the first time I performed in the Melbourne Magic Festival was 2011 and I try and participate every year at some level. This is the first time I’ve produced a full-length close-up show and I’m absolutely thrilled to be doing it at the Laneway Theatre which has been custom built for this type of illusion. It also appeals to me because of its secret location and because the audience has to walk through a haunted graveyard to get into the theatre. I’ve been thinking about this show for a while and it’s great to finally get it out of my head and onto a stage.

What does the Melbourne Magic Festival mean to you?
The Melbourne Magic Festival is a wonderful initiative where groups of magicians can stand around in their fancy suits, holding boxes of extremely secret stuff, without people asking why they brought their own table or mistaking them for a waiter. I’m a huge fan of this festival.

To me, this show sounds simply fascinating! If you’d like to see (and learn) more, tickets to “Unusual Objects” can be found here.

Unusual Objects” runs from Friday July 1st to Sunday July 3rd at The Laneway Theatre in Northcote.

No tickets are required for you to find usual objects though – you can find those right outside your own front door I’m sure haha!

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Aiden McHarg

Image Supplied

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with Aiden McHarg from Stopwatch Magic to talk about the mysterious noir magic show he’ll be bringing to the 2022 Melbourne Magic Festival, titled “Tableau Noir”. Please read on to discover more.

1. ‘Tableau Noir’ has quite a mysterious title. What can you tell us about this show?
Tableau Noir is a play on words. “Tableau” is a theatrical technique that employs frozen images on stage to communicate the story, while “Noir” is a genre of crime films that utilise harsh contrast and black and white to emphasise mood. “Tableau Noir” is French for “blackboard”.

This show is a silent black and white crime drama set to music, employing magic to create wonder and beauty through the storyline. The set is comprised of three doors coated in blackboard paint, and the detective draws his surroundings during the show.

2. What are you looking forward to in the 2022 Melbourne Magic Festival?
I’m looking forward to showing my work as a multidisciplinary artist. I’ve been developing this show for three years, and I’m excited to share my art as a magician, mime, and theatremaker. I’m also happy to be producing a show for the first time – this is the first stage show I’ve written and produced, so it’s a big opportunity for me.

3. Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect from Tableau Noir?
Audiences can expect to see a noir movie brought to life on stage, using magic, miming, and music to achieve the beauty and mystery of the genre. A world of black and white, chalk and shadows. A twist on the classic, where jazz and mystery abound. 

4. What’s the inspiration for Tableau Noir? What (or who) inspires you / your magic?
I was inspired to create this piece in a few different ways. The obvious one is film noir, but vaudeville, silent movies, and Penn and Teller have all been influences. I created this as a way to combine my passions, and to create a show that is theatre first, and magic second. My director (Em Chandler) and I are working on using magic to further the story, not the other way around. 

5. To me, the term ‘Noir’ conjures up black and white tones, classic films and detectives / shady characters. Are you a fan of classic movies? If so, what’s your favourite?
I am a fan of the silent era of films, and I’ve watched a swathe of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin films. I think my favourite movie about the era however is Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr. It has the charm of the old films while bringing a bit of the modern magic and cinematography to it, and it delves into the history behind the silent era of films, which I love.

As for noir films in particular, I appreciate the art of them. The stories are fun, but primarily I love how the black and white nature of the films wasn’t at all a hindrance. They used the harsh lighting and shadows as an art form, to further the story and create the beautiful genre that’s still being recreated and referenced to this day.

Thank you, Aiden, for taking the time to discuss your passions for noir film and theatremaking, and how they influence “Tableau Noir”.

If this interview has piqued your interest, Tableau Noir runs from Monday July 4 to Saturday July 9th at The Butterfly Club (5 Carson Place, Melbourne CBD). Tickets are available here.

If you’d like to learn more about Aiden McHarg and Stopwatch Magic, here are some socials:

Exciting new initiative: performer spotlights in the lead up to The Melbourne Magic Festival (MMF)

Hello readers! It has been a little while between posts (I’ve been a little out of action recently due to family commitments and sicknesses etc – it is that time of year!). I wanted to write a quick post to introduce a new initiative between myself, Tay Around Town, and the upcoming Melbourne Magic Festival. In the lead up to this exciting festival, I’ll be posting quick interviews (performer spotlights) with some of the magicians and characters featured in the festival. Hopefully these pieces will allow you all to get to know the performers and characters a little better, and get you in the mood to see some magic during the upcoming winter school holidays – The Melbourne Magic Festival runs from June 27th to July 9th and program information / daily schedule of shows can be found here.

For those that are unaware / haven’t heard of this festival before, The Melbourne Magic Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts magicians and magic fans
from all over the country and beyond. Running from June 27th to July 9th (during the Winter school holidays) this unique festival promises to take audiences to the extreme end of visual theatre with
over 130 performances of 30 different shows including top international guest magicians from all over Australia! (including some who have even fooled Penn & Teller!). This festival caters to everyone, with plenty of family friendly magic shows during the day time to some edgy and very entertaining late night shows for adults.

I hope you’ll all be able to spare some time to read a performer spotlight or two and take a chance on some entertaining shows at The Melbourne Magic Festival in 2022.