Adelaide Fringe – Diary of a Magician

The venue is the Garage International, tucked behind the town hall. It is beautiful: hardwood floors, golden chandeliers, arched windows, and fresh cool air – a good change from hot tents. The crowd is buzzing, packed with adults and children waiting quietly. The stage is well-lit and brilliantly configured. This must be in the running for the best city venue this Fringe.

Diary of a Magician opens with our titular performer — silently entering to some swelling string music, holding a leather-bound notebook and a few white cards. He deftly shifts his hands, and gradually, cards appear from everywhere – one moment they’re white, the next they’re multicoloured – one moment in his hands, the next they’re all over the stage.

The magician moves like a dancer, and everyone is enraptured. We can hear the hushed whispers of the amazed children in the audience, and they try to understand how he’s doing this. As he exits after the first section, there is a surtitle, pastoral music, and a handwritten diary entry. The show’s structure is introduced – a short, poetic diary entry will be projected on stage, followed by a somewhat connected trick. The magician never speaks.

Achieving almost complete attention from the one-hundred-plus crowd without once speaking is impressive and, indeed, a testament to the versatility and skill of the young magician. He moves like a dancer or a gymnast, and several sequences are as much about how he dashes across and about the stage as the sleight-of-hand illusions he constantly achieves.

Adelaide Fringe - Diary of a Magician

The sequence with a firefly and a lit-up stick was the stand-out and had Reviewer Jr spellbound. Several times, both Reviewer Jr and I could see whatever the magician was palming or the thing he was attempting to conceal, and while this took a little away from the whole, the overall artistry, poetry and elegance of the show more than made up for the few fumbles.

We were in the front row and best positioned to see some of the seams. For such a complex and well-considered piece of work, it’s not surprising there are a few bumps here and there, and Reviewer Jr and I both felt this took nothing away from the work as a whole.

Watching this young magician perform this show, with the help of his efficient team, was like watching a young magician start on a road to stardom. It’s hard not to imagine him headlining the more prominent venues of the Garden in the coming years.

Keeping children’s attention is tough; doing it without saying a word is even more impressive. Add to that some wonderful movement and dance, powerful music, great tech achievements and striking, if simple, tricks, and you have all the ingredients for a five-star show.

While I’d say the performer is not quite there yet, he will definitely be in the next few years. Reviewer Jr was a little more forgiving. Reviewer Jr said, on leaving, “I LOVED IT, and my favourite bit was when he did the thing with the stick. Twelve stars out of five”.

This review also appears on It’s On The House, and check out more reviews at Dark Stories Theatre to see what else is on in your town.

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