Presented by MindBlown Productions
Reviewed 16 February 2020
Magic fans can rejoice – the 2019 winner of the Best Overall Act of the Adelaide Fringe, Matt Tarrant, is back for 2020 with his brand new show, EVOLVE.
Originally an Adelaide boy, you can tell as soon as magician Matt Tarrant walks on stage that he is excited to be performing back in his home town. With this year’s show, EVOLVE, he has drawn inspiration from his past, most specifically his childhood and evolution through life. Tarrant has cleverly included nostalgic elements into his magic, utilising old Pokemon cards and the Tazo disks you would collect furiously from packets of chips back in the day. Tarrant also makes the most of different body senses with one stunt involving ‘mind-reading’ combined with 1980’s hit tunes that his dad played to him when he was young (think Hungry Like the Wolf).
Another nostalgic highlight comes towards the end of the show when Tarrant impresses the audience with unique digital magic through the use of a VHS containing cleverly filmed ‘home videos’ (pay close attention during that screening). He also impresses his audience with a modern take on the sleight-of-hand involving playing cards and contemporary tunes – one of the highlights of the show.
Alongside these new, nostalgic tricks, Tarrant also takes his audience on a trip back in time to (sold-out) Fringe shows past with much-loved routines like humorous mind-readings and a version of magician’s Russian Roulette that terrifyingly involves both giant fish hooks on strings and audience participation.
At some points the show did seem to lull, especially when Bruce the Goose, a character from past Tarrant shows, takes centre-stage. This year Bruce chose to be a celebrity hypnotist which unfortunately left the audience more in dismay at a fake goose wearing hypnotist glasses than impressed with any skill. Alongside this, there were also technical difficulties with the connection to the digital screens on either side of the stage. This prevented the audience from seeing some close up details (important for some more detailed magic tricks), but it was quickly remedied and the audience didn’t miss anything tremendously relevant.
If you’re a big magic fan, witnessing Matt Tarrant at the Adelaide Fringe is a right of passage, but if you feel ambivalent about this unique genre, perhaps spend your hour elsewhere.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Rating out of 5: 3
Venue: The Flamingo at Gluttony, Rymill Park/Mullawirraburka, Corner of East Terrace and Rundle Rd,
Adelaide, SA, 5000
Season: 15 February – 15 March 2020
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $23.25 – $35