Image by Kate Prendergast
A brand new venue, concept and show awaits Australian audiences this year with its world premiere at Adelaide Fringe – the Maho Magic Bar. Inspired by the magic bars of Japan’s glittering nightlife capitals, a bespoke venue has been created – a riot of blazing neon on the outside, contrasted with cool sophistication on the inside.
While you are served up flavours from the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan’s most consummate master magicians will perform up-close an exclusive magic show at your own table.
Shun Sugimoto, an award-winning performer with a body that bends in magical ways, is the charismatic Master of Ceremonies. Making up the magician’s troupe are four prodigies of mischievous prowess, discovered by Broad Encounters last year in the labyrinthine tumult and high-octane energy of Japan’s nightlife capitals. Each performer brings their own distinctive style, character and flair to the show.
There is Kentaro Ikegami, a whip-smart magician who blends comedy with jaw-dropping sleight of hand. Shohgo Yamashita is the pin-up boy from party capital Osaka and is a pioneer of magic that combines storytelling with a screen production approach.
Making the crowd gasp, Kaori Kitazawa is our kawaii princess of illusion, shaking up gender stereotypes in the typically male magician domain. And finally, there is Sarito: quite possibly the craziest close-up magician on the planet, his daredevil repertoire includes needles, gaffer tape, detergent, stuffed animals and more.
Maho Magic Bar takes bespoke experiences to a new level. Created by the minds that produced the award-winning A Midnight Visit, Australia’s first large-scale theatre journey, this truly immersive production is another impactful experience for audiences of an entirely different kind. Expect wonder, humour, joy, surprises, delectable drinks and of course, the best close-up magic for your eyes only.
With only 30 seats at the bar per show, it doesn’t get more intimate. True to the bars of Japan, purchase a drink upon entry from esteemed Japanese brands including Sapporo, Suntory and Nikka – whether that’s a masu cup of highest-grade Junmai Daiginjo sake; a sip of Japan’s most popular drink, Shochu, a delectable yuzu flavoured cocktail; a delicious finger of authentic Japanese whisky; or the refreshing crispness of Japan’s famous Sapporo beer, perfect on a hot Adelaide day.
Plus, if you’re adventurous of spirit, then select a magic moment from ‘Special Menu’ of surprises.
“We wanted to bring a little bit of Japan’s crazy, cool wonder to Australia and give audiences an experience unlike anything they have ever experienced before,” says Co-Director Kirsten Siddle. “Those looking for a new way to discover entertainment will be enchanted, and those looking to engage with extreme skills will be astonished.”
“Seeing close-up magic really does inspire awe,” says Co-Director Danielle Harvey. “The skill, finesse and personalities of these master magicians, and the joy they elicit from their performances, is really something special.”
Broad Encounters’ Co-Director, Kirsten, has travelled extensively in Japan and was first enamored by the magic bars she found there. Using them as inspiration, Kirsten and Danielle then travelled to Japan to seek out the country’s top close-up magicians for this unique experience.
“The Japanese have a long-standing affinity with magic and certainly a great affection for it,” says Siddle. “Magic in Japan is dated as appearing as early as AD735, and during the Edo period traditional magic, called ‘tezuma’ developed and flourished.
“Maho Magic Bar pays beautiful homage to the traditional magic, ‘tezuma’, but also very much channels and celebrates the craziness and colour of contemporary Japanese magic, which will be familiar to Australian audiences,” says Siddle.
The artists, who are flying from Japan in early February, are eager to meet and entertain Adelaide audiences.
“I am so excited to arrive in Adelaide and bring our magical mischief to Maho Magic Bar,” says Kaori Kitazawa. “We’ve been thinking of Australia over this troubling summer of fires and we are keen to bring some joy and wonder to you all. Sugoi!”
“I can’t wait to return to Adelaide! Festival time in Adelaide is unbelievable fun and I know audiences are going to love our unique experience that is part bar, part show and all magic!” says Shun Sugimoto.
Where: Maho Magic Bar at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
When: 14 February – March 15
Tickets: $49 to $59