The Comedy Magic Show
12:00pm, Sun 11 Mar 2012
It must be hard being a stage magician, performing to an audience of grumpy parents and antsy kids at lunchtime on a sticky Sunday in a full and rapidly warming tent. And the websites for Luke Hocking and Alex de la Rambelje certainly give the impression that they’re accomplished magicians.
But up on that stage today, they looked nervous and uncomfortable… and unpolished.
They open with some strong and convincing sleight-of-hand magic tricks that confounded the younger members of the audience, and bemused the more senior spectators; but “confound” is a kinda quiet verb, which meant that the audience reaction to their opening brace of tricks was… well, silence. Or rather, silence plus ambient noise from the rest of Gluttony.
And that must have felt unbelievably bad to the guys on stage; they must have felt like they were tanking.
As the heat inside the tent rose, Alex and Luke began looking more and more uncomfortable in their suit/vest attire; beads of sweat became distinctly visible, and their smiles were noticeably forced. Some of their tricks looked really cheesy, and kids in the crowd started yelling out the “answer” as a result – it started feeling adversarial. The familiar sliding die box had the kids yelling at the stage, with tangible tension in their voices… but there was no applause when the “real” trick was revealed, more seething resentment that they’d been fooled.
The magicians tried to use some audience interaction to win the crowd over, but this backfired when one kid has a really adverse reaction to one of their jokes and storms off the stage. But that moment somehow proved to be less uncomfortable than when Luke and Alex spent a few minutes spruiking their magic kit – a collection of cards & a book – to parents: “instructions for one hundred tricks, great for self-confidence and self-esteem.”
Despite some neat card transference tricks, and a decent rings finale, The Comedy Magic Show felt like a very lacklustre affair. I know they tried hard, and that the audience was, at best, unreceptive, but despite their best efforts I left the Carry On actively disliking Alex and Luke… and that’s not something I would expect to take away from a either a comedy show or a magic show.