MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Davide Kaufmann

Davide Kaufmann – image supplied

Today I say Ciao (Hello)! To Italian born, Melbourne native Davide Kaufmann who is a very busy magician indeed. At this year’s Melbourne Magic Festival, Davide presents 2 family friendly magic shows: “The Great Armando’s Espresso Magic” for younger audiences, and “Once Upon A Time in Milano” for families / suitable for older children. Andiamo allora, let’s learn more.

Describe each show in 3 words:
The Great Armando’s Espresso Magic: high-energy family entertainment
Once Upon A Time in Milano: improv comedy storytelling

What do you enjoy most about entertaining children / families?
I always loved entertaining families. There is something special about the disarming honesty of kids: an adult might make a polite comment, but a child will tell you exactly what they thought about your show. This is why when I see a child coming back to see Armando perform, I know I am doing something right.
After more than twenty years on stage, I have seen how much of a positive impact a show can have on a children’s imagination, especially in this world that doesn’t really have much magic left in it. As a father myself I strive to create a safe space for families, full of magic and stories that can be shared together, which is why even my night show (a more “adult” one) is also 100% family friendly.

Your Italian background is alluded to in both show titles. What made you decide to include your cultural background into your shows?
I used to hide it when I first arrived in Australia ten years ago because I desperately wanted to fit in. Now that I do, and I can proudly call Melbourne my home, I decided to make it my trademark. My accent is real and it’s not going anywhere and people seem to love hearing me talk. This is why I branded myself as “The Italian Magician” owning my italian origin story.

What does The Melbourne Magic Festival mean to you?
The Melbourne Magic festival means a great deal to me. I used to live in Hobart, Tasmania, where I lived and performed for two years. When I moved to Melbourne I found it very hard to start everything again once more. To make matters worse, my then partner broke up with me after ten years together, and I found myself kind-of stranded in a new city. The Melbourne Magic community really helped me a lot and I will always remember how Tim Ellis (our artistic director) took a chance on me, allowing me to perform at the festival for the first time in 2016. I still cherish the feeling of acceptance and love I’ve got from the festival and that was really the turning point for me and the start of my new life in Melbourne.

Melbourne is a city that sure loves its coffee! If you were a coffee, what coffee type or style would you be?
Magic of course! There is a special feeling in ordering a coffee that’s not really on the menu. It’s also a double ristretto, just like me: a coffee made of two halves: Armando and Davide, coexisting in the same cup.

Well, this interview sure has me reaching for my next cup of coffee! If Davide’s shows sound like they match your tastes, please find more information and ticketing links below! Andiamo (let’s go)!

The Great Armando’s Espresso Magic runs from July 5th to July 9th (at 2pm each day) at The Cardini Cabaret – Arrow Hub, 488 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Tickets available here.

Once Upon A Time in Milano runs from July 5th to July 9th (at 7:45pm each evening) at The Slydini Showroom – Arrow Hub, 488 Swanston St, Melbourne. Tickets available here.

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Lachlan Wilde

Lachlan Wilde – image supplied

Recently, I tracked down Melbourne magician Lachlan Wilde to chat about his upcoming show “World of Wonders”. Lachlan has performed at The Melbourne Magic Festival a bunch of times in the past, so I was keen to hear more about what he has in store for his audiences this year. Read on to discover more!

Describe your show in 3 words: Unconventional, intriguing and personal.

Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect from your show?
You can expect to see wonderful magic and stories you won’t hear anywhere else. I hope you leave the theatre compelled to not search for the magic around you, but instead allow the magic to find you.

Your show title alludes to travel. Do you have a favourite place to travel to?
In my show I tell a story from when I was in Paris, on the Eiffel Tower. Without saying too much, in this moment I felt like I could fly into the clouds! It was an outer-body experience. Lately I have been discovering that everywhere you go can be a marvellous experience if you allow it to be.

What does the Melbourne Magic Festival mean to you? Is there anything you’re looking forward to at festival time?
The Melbourne Magic Festival takes the best magicians in the world, and puts them front and centre under a spotlight for Melbourne to see. The festival has always been a supportive place for performers such as myself, and gives us a platform to perform new magic for fresh audiences; I can’t think of too many other places like it in the country. I’m biased, but I’m really looking forward to the Storyville Open Mic Magic Night. My magic teacher Anthony DeMasi produces the show and brings together so many unique and talented magicians for a night of non-stop entertainment, with an amazing host – Nick Nickolas.

What is your proudest achievement so far?
All the people I have had the fortune of meeting. I have met some truly great people in my life so far, and I learn so much from everybody I meet.

Well, sounds like Lachlan is ready to take his audiences on some wonderful adventures indeed! “World of Wonders” runs from July 8th – 9th at The Houdini Theatre – Arrow Hub, 488 Swanston St, Melbourne. Book your tickets here

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: (The Quizzical) Mr Jeff

Recently, I was lucky to track down Mr Jeff to talk all things magic, whimsy and circus. Join me to learn more about the fascinating Mr Jeff and his show, “The Quizzical Mr Jeff”

Describe your show in 3 words: Exciting, dynamic, amazing

What’s the inspiration for your show / what inspires you?
Things that inspire me are wow moments and things that give me an emotional response.
As a child I always dreamed of being a wizard so with my goal to accumulate as much magical power as possible , I set out into the world trying to find ways of becoming a wizard. Learning from a young age that there isn’t any natural magic in this world didn’t stop me, I dedicated myself to discovering and creating wonderful magical experiences for the stage, and now I offer a plethora of whimsical wonders in my show “The Quizzical Mr Jeff”

Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect from your show?
I present audiences with an opportunity to be transported into a fantastical and vivid adventure of novelty and illusion and a place where I can unleash my magical powers for the world to see! Audiences can expect and prepare themselves for an unreasonably sized balloon with the ability to eat a human whole,  a golden cane unrestrained by the grasp or gravity and to witness my ability to pull light out of a light bulb and hold it between my finger tips.

I hear you are very skilled in multiple arts (circus and magic) – do you have a favorite skill / is there any skill you are particularly proud of?
My favorite skill in my show is my flying cane act, I love the way that it feels to perform and the look and beauty contained in the act. Levitations are always my favorite acts. I have a few in my show and I always really love them – they are just really whimsical and uplifting, I love to see things fly.

The skill that I’m the most proud of, is probably my ability to see something and then imagine it, then create it, and be able to create moments that I know people will really enjoy from things that I have imagined!

What does the Melbourne Magic Festival mean to you?
It’s an opportunity to bring my show to a stage where the general public and friends can see me, and an opportunity to engage with other performers in the magic community. My main skill sets are in circus and variety entertainment and I require a large stage to pull of the magic effects that I work with, so the festival brings a great opportunity for that.

Mr Jeff is truly a spellbinding character, sounds like his show is a must see for everyone! The Quizzical Mr Jeff runs from July 5th – July 9th at The Houdini Theatre – Arrow Hub, 488 Swanston St, Melbourne. Tickets are available here.

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Tim Credible

Tim Credible and Douzie Dragon – image supplied

This week I sat down with well known Melbourne magician (and veteran Melbourne Magic Festival performer) Tim Credible to have a glimpse at what’s in store for his audiences and fans this year. Tim offers a family magic show PLUS a magic school for any young magic fans keen to learn some skills – talk about a busy performer!

You’ve been a regular performer at the Melbourne Magic Festival for many years now, what keeps you coming back to this festival?
My show is all about fun, laughter and amazement for the whole family. The Melbourne Magic Festival has made it possible for me to share my magic with thousands of families. It also gives me the chance to see and support other great performers in the magic community.

What do you enjoy most about entertaining children and families?
Quite simply hearing the kids laughing and bringing the inner kid out of the grown ups that are accompanying them.

Describe your show in 3 words: Belly Laughing Kids

I hear that you also run children’s magic classes (in the form of Magic School) during the Melbourne Magic Festival. What can you tell me about these classes (I’m sure they are bound to be popular)?
I think this will be the 15th year I have run Magic School at the Melbourne Magic Festival. Wow, that’s a long time! It really is a highlight to see the kids performing magic on stage to their family and friends. 

Do you have a favourite memory of performing at the Melbourne Magic Festival that you can share?
This is a hard one after 15 years of performing  and teaching at the Melbourne Magic Festival. I think seeing the kids that I taught 15 years ago performing their own shows at the festival as adults has to be a highlight for me. 

I hear you have some expressive and curious co stars in your show! Care to tell us about them (or are they interview shy)?
My friend Douzie the Dragon has become the star of the show. I’m just there to support him (but don’t tell him that!) 

This sounds like such a fun show – fancy seeing a magical dragon as part of the show too! Don’t miss Tim Credible’s Family Magic Show, running twice a day from July 5th to July 9th. Find tickets here.
If you have some young budding magicians, Tim Credible’s Magic School is running once a day from July 5th to July 9th. Tickets for magic school can be found here.

To find out more about Tim Credible, visit his website: TimCredible.com.au

MMF 2022 Performer Spotlight: Chris Morant

Chris Morant – image supplied

The Melbourne Magic Festival attracts performers with all kinds of skills – mostly magical of course, but also circus and variety talents too! One such performer is Chris Morant who proudly presents “Chris Morant’s Magical Circus Show” during this year’s festival.

Describe your show in 3 words: Magical, Circus, Fun.

What do you enjoy most about entertaining children / families?
I enjoy performing for children and families because I feel it includes everyone and the focus is on being entertaining and it makes me so happy and fulfilled to see people laughing and clapping.

I hear you perform many circus and magic skills – is there any skill you’re particularly proud of?
My favourite trick is my hat juggling, as when you are wearing a hat people think its part of the costume so it is a surprise the see the hat being rolled, thrown and tumbled.

Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect from your show?
Audiences can expect a fun engaging show for the whole family, I also give away a beautiful hand made leather cat mask to one lucky audience member each show. I love the idea that my show will have a very special magical effect on the winner of the mask to have a story about the show and have a really col mask to have for masquerade balls and even as wall art. I also will be selling masks after the show.

What does the Melbourne Magic Festival mean to you? Is there anything you’re looking forward to at festival time?
The Magic Festival means a lot to me to feel like I am part of a community, and I love seeing the next generation of artists putting their spin on classic magical effects.

Sounds like an amazing show indeed, PLUS it comes with a bonus chance to win your very own special hand made leather cat mask – that is very cool indeed.

Chris Morant’s Magical Circus show runs from July 5th to 9th at The Slydini Showroom – Arrow Hub. Get tickets for your whole family here.

Chris Morant’s website: https://www.chrismorant.com/
If you’re interested in a hand made leather mask of your own, check out Chris’ Etsy site here.

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:

https://www.stopwatchmagic.com/

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.

MICF 2022 Review: “Oops”

Image: supplied

It’s a bold move to create a show that references and celebrates mistakes, yet Callum Straford does both well and in entertaining ways during his show “Oops”. From the moment Callum walks on stage, his relaxed and affable nature puts his audience at ease and that makes this show easy to sit back, relax and enjoy. In fact, the bulk of Straford’s show is extremely relatable – from experiences in school, to going out, technology use and everything in between – “Oops” features strong comedy pieces delivered via all the senses.

The pace of Straford’s sketches and pieces is fast, but not so much that you can’t keep up with all the action and relish each punchline or quick witted comment. I especially enjoyed some choice 90’s throwbacks (and jingles!) along with Straford’s physical comedy sketches, which made me laugh the most. Straford is also a good singer – not one of those people who protest they can sing (but only in the shower or drunk at karaoke) – I’m talking, a decent singer and keyboard player to boot. Straford’s songs are another highlight of “Oops”. Multi talented performer full of surprises for the win! No audience members are ‘put on the spot’ or unfairly highlighted in this show which is refreshing, and both the show content and friendly nature of Straford are ideal for the early comedy timeslot. If you have the chance to see this show, please do. It’s one of those shows where time goes very fast because you’re having such a good time.

VERDICT: “Oops” is a solidly entertaining show with some poignant messages at the end. Highly recommended.

Oops runs from Monday 11th of April – Saturday 23rd April (excluding Sunday 17th) at a brand-new theatre in Bard’s Apothecary (7/24 Crossley Street, in Melbourne’s CBD). Bookings are essential and can be made here

*disclaimer: I attended this show as a guest of the performer.