REVIEWER RATING: ★★★.5
Be prepared to step inside the secret magic den of the Studio at the Sydney Opera House for an evening of magical mind-bending moments as the finest magicians from across Australia dazzle you with some of their best tricks ever. Hosted by James Galea, Best Trick Ever welcomes audiences back to the Sydney Opera House to be wowed by an eclectic mix of magicians, each with their own set of tricks. Whether it be close-up card magic, escapology or vaudevillian illusions, Best Trick Ever is a wonderous night of entertainment for all ages.
James Galea is an award-winning magician and the creator/writer/producer of the internationally renowned Band of Magicians and the 2019 Sydney Festival hit POOF! Secrets of a Magician. Joining Galea onstage is a range of Australia’s best magical exports including global YouTube sensation, and shadow puppet expert as seen on The Illusionists Live On Broadway and Australia’s Got Talent, Unusualist Raymond Crowe; the first magician ever to fool Penn & Teller three times on their hit show FOOL US and Australia’s top escapologist, Helen Coghlan; the only Australian semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent, famous for his cheeky signature beer act, Dom Chambers; and up-and-coming magic star and master of the Rubik’s cube, Vincent Kuo.
The stage is designed to represent a cosy magician’s living room, complete with a grand piano, moving bookshelf, hidden passages, and a telephone rabbit. The particular style of the design provides Best Trick Ever with a cosy welcoming atmosphere, instead of a large setting that purely relies on all the magic being shown via screens. Galea does however provide us with a roaming cameraman for the close-up card magic, just so we do not miss out on any of the slight of hand tricks that occur – no spoilers here. Although at times, the smaller venue does tend to work against the magicians and forces them to work harder as even the slightest mistake might hint at the ‘wizard behind the curtain’ of the tricks they perform; for those keen-eyed viewers in the audience, you may just catch a glimpse at how some tricks are pulled off.
What makes Best Trick Ever different to other magic shows is that each artist is introduced with a background of their love for magic and their journey in the life of a magician to being on the Sydney Opera House stage. This proves to be a thoughtful addition to the performance as we feel more connected to the performers and as a result are instilled with anticipation for what trick they will pull out of their metaphorical hats.
For those who are concerned over COVID-safety protocols and the reliance on audience participation for some tricks to be pulled off successfully, rest assured that the performers share that concern. COVID-safety is a recurring gag throughout the magic acts, and each member of the audience called upon by the magicians is provided with gloves and hand sanitiser in addition to their mandatory masks. With Glen 20 getting its fair share of use, the performers ensure the audience is as comfortable as possible with their interactions both on and off the stage.
As Galea said at the end of the evening, it is a strange thing to come back to the theatre for a night of magic and trickery, but Best Trick Ever proved to be a delightful night of illusions and magical mastery for magic lovers young, old and young at heart.
James Galea’s Best Trick Ever is in the Studio, Sydney Opera House until 14 Feb 2020. For more information and tickets, click here.