What: Maho Magic Bar
Where: Maho Magic Bar at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Duration: 60 minutes
When: now through to March 15
Genre: Magic / Interactive
Review by Sarah List
There’s plenty of magic shows this year at the fringe, so what sets Maho apart? It’s definitely the intimacy of the venue setup, where the performers move between the ‘bars’ the patrons are occupying in a speed dating style. The prettily decorated Maho Magic Bar greets you warmly with host Shun at the entrance. There’s just 8 of you with your temporary host at each of the bar setups, and everyone has the opportunity to be part of the magic – where else can you do that? It was quite mesmerizing to be able to see such precision right in front of you, such as a seemingly empty soft drink can refilling and being cracked open in front of your eyes, or a red eye (Japanese cocktail of beer and tomato juice) pouring from a cocktail shaker of whole tomatoes (which of course appeared out of nowhere). Each of the performers had their own style – Kaori was sweet and playful and her balloon string trick was especially impressive. Sarito was unhinged and hilarious – he had my gig buddy genuinely unnerved about what might happen when he involved her in his performance. Shohgo was utterly hilarious as he had us hopelessly guessing where he had hidden his fake icecube, before revealing the secrets of his process. Kentaro came to us last and unfortunately we didn’t have much time with him, as someone had ordered off the special magic menu (an extra option) to see Sarito make use of gaffa tape and a stuffed panda to find a specially marked card.
This is a new venture, so as with all emerging shows there’s a couple of tweaks that could be made as it evolves – There’s presently a requirement of a drink purchase, and while that’s pretty standard in bars in Japan, most Adelaideans I know would prefer to pay a little more to have a drink included in the ticket price, with the option to purchase additional beverages. There was a gap where we didn’t have a performer in front of us which was a bit of shame, and at times I felt like a few more tricks that diversified beyond the frequent card theme might just really shake things up that extra notch. Fire perhaps?!
I’m not going to lie – I have a real soft spot for Japan and the contrasting push and pull of the quiet beauty and crazy non-conformist cultures that coexist in the space – Maho Magic Bar really knits those extremes together. An intriguing and fun night – with beverages!