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: or at the door