Tag: Melbourne Comedy Festival


Unusual and absorbing

By Caitlin McGrane

As the Melbourne Fringe Festival drew to a close on Sunday night, the audience at The Toff in Town was treated to Magic Steven’s final show in a three-performance run over the two-and-a-half-week festival. Steven aimed to teach us how to love everyone, but it seemed to be that the most important lesson was how to love oneself.

Steven’s basic set up on stage meant that his words, delivered in a dead-pan almost uninflected tone, rolled around the whole space, filling every gap. The show covered Steven’s life since the end of the Comedy Festival in April, and is split into three parts: autumn, early winter and late winter.

Try to Love Everyone

I’ve never really been to many spoken word events before, but I found Steven’s gently lilting story to be strangely engaging. Often the theatrics of a performance can distract from the words, but this show made them stand out and become the stars. It was like having a conversation with a guy at a party, in the best possible way, because it was entirely without the contrivances that can make poetry or comedy performances seem unnatural or forced. The structure was even and the pacing excellent, I also enjoyed how each third managed to slip in a reference to Steven’s time in India.

In autumn Steven decided to take in as many couchsurfers as possible, in order to try to spread platonic love to strangers. Early winter follows his lacklustre search for a girlfriend, and we learn that simply waiting for someone to approach you after a show might (remarkably) not be the best option. Late winter was my favourite, when we were asked to question the conventional wisdom that ‘in order for someone to love you, you must first love yourself.’

While it’s a shame there are no more shows left in this run, I would encourage you to seek Magic Steven out the next time he puts on a show; his style is different, but ultimately very rewarding.

Magic Steven: Try to Love Everyone was performed at The Toff in Town as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.


REVIEW: The Gentlemen of Deceit for MICF

Put a little magic into your Melbourne Comedy Festival this year

By Margaret Wieringa

A voice from the darkness asks an audience member to place a shoe on a stool onstage. A brave audience member complies, then three men approach with red tape across their mouths and the magic begins!

Gentlemen of Deceit

The Gentlemen of Deceit use quite a lot of audience participation throughout the show, but it is friendly and welcoming. As long as you trust the magician, of course – especially in the section of the show called Do You Trust the Magician? One part involved a young girl and balloon animals and the trick was almost upstaged by the gorgeous expression on the girl’s face throughout. Only almost, though – at the end, the audience literally gasped with wonder.

Often, I find magic shows too big and sparkly and my feminist sensibilities are concerned by the need of a scantily-clad lady used as a prop. Thank goodness that Luke Hocking, Alex de la Rambelje and Vyom Sharma rely on talent and personality to entertain the crowd without the need for all of the showy bells and whistles. This makes the magic more impressive – everything seems normal and suddenly something has disappeared or reappeared or reformed.

It was a full audience at the Spring Street Conference Centre – not at all a traditional Comedy Festival venue, far more like a lecture hall, but a space that worked extremely well for this style of show. It was a little bit of a challenge to find the correct entrance in the rain, but was worth the perseverance! The conference room had audiovisual facilities that the magicians took advantage of during a section where they compared stage magic to that of television. It didn’t matter whether you watched the live or screen version, it was impossible to figure out the trick.

I’m not the kind of audience member who craves the answers on how a trick works. I am just happy to watch and enjoy. What I want is comedy; and The Gentlemen of Deceit definitely provide that. Funny, mysterious and totally delightful.

Venue: Spring Street Conference Centre, Melbourne Theatrette, Mezzanine Level, One Spring Street, Melbourne
Dates: March 27-29, April 3-5, 10-12 and 19, 7:30pm
Tickets: $23 full, $19 concession, $18 – groups of 5+
Bookings: http://ticketbooth.com.au or at the door