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NZ Fringe Festival 2013
Produced, written, directed, and performed by Mike Kmiec

at Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington
From 27 Feb 2013 to 2 Mar 2013

Reviewed by Lucy O'Connor, 1 Mar 2013

A man in a suit arrives on stage. This is hardly the attire we expect to see when meeting a magician but it is quite a refreshing start. We are told an enchanting tale about his first memory of witnessing magic – or, as he puts it, astonishment when a simple light bulb appeared to float in midair right before his eyes. And so he presents us with that light bulb which emerges unexpectedly from a popcorn packet.

Mike Kmiec – the writer and performer of the piece – proceeds to share not the secrets of trickery, but the secrets of how a magician comes to be just that. We learn of how they live lonely lives, perfecting tricks for hours on end. Of how they are obsessive knowledge seekers, reading book after book about the mysterious craft. Of how they want to impress their audience by altering what we expect. Unfortunately, I feel slightly less than ...

His tricks are few and far between which surprises me, given my hope they'd be the main feature of any magicians' show. Even though this particular one is designed to educate, a magician possesses skills far beyond words that intrigue and amaze. Instead, I feel like I am in a lecture with a power point presentation alongside wordy tales of a magician's emotion.

Coin and card tricks are what we do bear witness to, making it feel a bit like a street performance. I wasn't sure whether to tip or not. The volunteers offer some redemption with their enthusiasm.

When Mike is performing his tricks and not trying to remember his script he really comes into his own which makes me wonder why he chose to present in this way.

I leave feeling slightly less than astonished and wish I were given the chance to adore more magic during the show.
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