Ben Hart is no stranger to the Adelaide Fringe, but this year he is surrounded by walls rather than being in a tent. He comes on stage, dressed in a black suit and tells us about his love for magic. His story is enchanting and soothing as he explains that the magic exists in us all. What follows is a series of clever and talented illusions.
The opening sketch, in which a piece of paper gently tossed by a fan turns into an egg, produces gasps of wonder from the audience. Hart’s disarming good looks and charm combined with his engaging patter has the effect of easing us into the show. There is plenty of audience participation, but nothing that could embarrass or upset anyone.
At times, a video camera is bought on stage to project the movements onto a screen mounted behind Hart. We are reassured that there is no trickery, but to prove his point, a young member of the audience is invited on-stage to observe close up a coin trick. Despite the natural scepticism of youth, he too was baffled by the magician’s skill.
Many of the illusions had an interesting story as a background, including one of a magical river. A grain of rice becomes two, then becomes a whole bowlful … In other scenes a deck of cards shrinks before your eyes; in another, audience member’s rings become entwined. The patter is disarming yet soothing and means that this is more than just a series of magic tricks.
The true magic is creating joy and this is Ben Hart’s special skill. Everyone leaves the show full of wonder and happiness and that’s a special thing in this modern world.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Ben Hart plays at The Factory at the Adelaide Fringe until 19th March tickets here
Check his website for more upcoming tours