A world of illusions and trickery
By Beth Cregan
I head off to The Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Alex and Luke’s Make Your Parents Disappear with my own trick on either arm – my ‘magic minded’ nephew (aged 8) and his worldly older sister, aged 11 (11.75 to be exact!). It might be hard to impress this techno ‘review panel’ with a few simple magic tricks. But soon enough, it’s clear to all three of us, that this show is far from simple magic. More than once, I jabbed my niece’s side and whispered, ‘Hey how did they do that? to which she just shook her head. Welcome to Spiegeltent and the world of illusions and trickery.
When we meet the brothers, Alex and Luke, they are up in their bedroom, completing their magic school homework, when Mum reminds them it’s nearly bedtime. They want to stay up. (We want them to stay up too!) With a little prompting, the audience soon suggests that perhaps if mum and dad disappeared, bedtime would be a thing of the past. And so begins a fast paced, interactive narrative, where Alex and Luke race to eradicate one of the worse words in the world – bedtime!
Along the way they entertain us with an impressive list of magic tricks. Both of the boys attend magic school but Alex is not as skilled a magician as his brother, which adds some wonderful slapstick humour and funny antics to the show. Think folded, squashed bananas and tricks that go terribly wrong, amidst much laughter from the audience. You’ll find all of your children’s favourite illusions in this mix – card tricks, disappearing dice, coins that come out of nowhere, balloon animals and tables that dance metres off the floor. But some more complex tricks may take you completely by surprise. In the early part of the show, a mother from the audience gave up her phone for a trick (brave, I know). The woman is reunited with her phone in last few minutes of the show. It is snug inside a can of beans! Yes baked beans! (Thankfully the phone was in a zip lock bag.)
The characters of mum and dad are also plucked from the audience and made to disappear, only to turn up minutes later in the audience. The narrative is engaging and the tricks are seamlessly performed but what really impressed me was the high level of audience participation and the rapport the magicians developed with their volunteers across a wide age range. They say, don’t work with animals or children, but these two guys make it look like tremendous fun, despite the lights, the constant action, unpredictable audience members on stage and the endless line of tricks to perform.
So on the tram after the show, I ask my young reviewers, would they recommend the show to their buddies? Yes, is the unanimous reply; ‘Everyone should go and see it!’