[2013023] 3

[2013023] 3

Matt Tarrant, Shahin Zareei, Vinh Giang @ Gluttony – Pig Tales

9:35pm, Sun 17 Feb 2013

Either there were a lot more magic shows in the Fringe Guide this year, or something in my brain had changed and caused me to put way more magic on The Shortlist. 3 was the first cab off the rank in that regard – and early whispers had audiences singing its praises.

Taking its name from the three performers who bring their unique skillsets to the stage, 3 gets off to an overwrought and clunky start as they solemnly take to the stage. The tricks of mentalist Matt Tarrant are the first on display, as he guesses objects from the audience’s pockets with duct tape over his eyes. Of course, the fun with magic shows is in trying to figure out how the trick is done, and I suspect that Tarrant’s “mentalism” is guided by Zareei’s dialogue with him, but it’s still a neat trick. More impressive, however, was his ability to guess cards in a deck that were randomly selected by multiple audience members – I, of course, had picked the ace of spades, which (along with all the other cards) was dutifully divined by Tarrant.

Shahin Zareei performed some old-school sleight-of-hand magic, hiding an audience member’s ring within a walnut (which was then enclosed in an egg, inside a lemon), as well as other common tricks; but despite his billing as Australian Magician of the Year, his performance was a bit lacklustre, especially during the ropes trick – a slip all but gave the trick away. But his rough performance was more than compensated by Vinh Giang’s efforts: introducing himself as a “Psychological Illusionist”, the way he guided thoughts using subliminals was head-scratchingly impressive (with letters and animals and numbers and words all being successfully implanted). This sort of trickery fascinates me no end, and Giang’s likeable stage presence is the icing on the cake of his segment.

Overall, though, 3 was let down by Zareei’s stumbling set, and a few problems with pacing – there were too many instances early on when I was waiting for the next trick to kick in, rather than dwell in the afterglow of the last trick. A somewhat mute audience didn’t help much either… but that takes nothing away from Vinh Giang, whose set was by far the highlight of the show.

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