Straight and Laced is a family-friendly show that brings together two people with superficially different personalities. In a mash-up of the odd couple and a street magic show, Straight could be described as either magic-cloaked-as-comedy, or comedy-masquerading-as-magic. Either way, it’s a lot of fun.
The show starts with Paul James recounting childhood memories of his first magic show, performed for his family as early as three years old. He delivers his story as he deftly performs a slicker version of the card tricks he is describing. Dressed in a tailored suit, he is smooth, precise, and poker-faced.
He works the crowd professionally and encourages them to engage. As his act becomes more complex, so do his props; starting with a cardboard box, he works up to Rubik’s Cubes, and then hundreds of dollars in cash that don’t quite make it into any audience members’ hands.
Next, stumbling through the theatre doors, a late-comer is in fact the loud and goofy Jon Madd, dressed in red overalls, and carrying his box of Fantastic [email protected] tricks. He is invited onto the stage, where he plays up being a ‘slow’ learner; his [email protected] tricks are for ages seven and up.
Jon begins with some juggling and simple trickeries found in the magic tool kit. His wonderful silliness is so endearing, and his movements so extremely physical, that you can’t help but laugh. His self-deprecation lures us into thinking he’s really underprepared for the show, but then – ABRACADABRA! – his magic evolves. By the end, he is delivering Hogwarts-worthy spells to his audience.
The two contrast like Yin and Yang. These enigmatic Holey Moley magicians and members of the Western Australian Society of Magicians play up their differences to the extreme, combining comedic fun, magic tricks, and audience participation. They both work the crowd well, and their magic is strengthened by their banter. There are many moments when you think something’s gone wrong, but they know exactly what they’re doing.
There were several tricks where I still don’t have any clue how they might have done it. But I guess that’s magic!
Straight and Laced runs until the 9th of February at the Briefing Room at the Girls School East Perth. Tickets are $26 and you can get them here.
3.5 rabbits out of 5 hats.
Elaine Hanlon // @elainehanlonart
Elaine thinks we should never stop believing in magic, this show is proof that if you don’t, you can make anything happen.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival
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