Monday, April 4, 2011

A Modern Deception Review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)



A Modern Deception is an interesting name for a magic show as it is playing with the idea that a magician achieves his magic by deceiving this audience with flare and trickery. The performances by Alex de la Rambelje, Vyom Sharma and Luke Hocking also reflected this playful title. These boys are very serious about their quality of magic but don’t take the whole surrounding sparkle and jazz hands very seriously. What results is a performance that is refreshing in its approach towards magic whilst also delivering the “sense of wonder you fell when you see something unfathomable” as promised in the advertising.

As part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this is a smaller show, but a gem that glows in the basement of the Bull and Bear Tavern on Flinders Lane. The show opens with a cute montage of how magic has developed from the 70s to the Modern Deception of today. From here there is magic involving money, goldfish, cups, fire, cards and a very suspicious box hanging above the stage in full view of the audience for the entire show.

The magicians worked together extremely well, their onstage chemistry really added to the show as did the dramatic technique of two of them narrating the actions of the third. In a show such as this it is difficult to distinguish between who is responsible for such ideas so the magicians and their Director Celeste Cody deserve equal commendations. The use of AV was good, not interfering with the action on the stage; indeed it complemented the story telling well.

As a side note, diabolical is an interesting word to describe the finale. I would perhaps offer intriguing or baffling or unfathomable or puzzling but diabolical? It is a fine and fitting ending to the show but hardly dangerous/awful or whatever definition used for diabolical in your dictionary. So marvel and enjoy and leave your inner cynic at the bar and let these three talented magicians subvert your expectations; make you laugh and allow you for an hour to believe in magic.