THE BEST IS YET TO COME – A Queer Magic Show

Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland

08/02/2023 - 11/02/2023

Little Andromeda, Level 1/134 Oxford Terrace, Central City, Christchurch

10/03/2023 - 11/03/2023

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

21/03/2023 - 25/03/2023

Auckland Pride 2023

Production Details

Presented and performed by Jeremy Rolston

IMPORTANT: Please note thanks to Auckland Pride I have received funding through the Access Pride Fund which allows me to have a NZ sign language interpreter at my final show ONLY on Saturday 11th Feb, 8.30pm. If you or anyone you know will benefit from this please let them know.

The show tells the story of Jeremy Rolston, a man who grew up in the church, resulting in the gay kid being repressed in him until age 25 when he was finally set free. There’s a lot of good going on for the queer community, but still so far to go.

Accompanied by mentalism and magic, this is a queer story portrayed, unlike anything you’ve seen. You’ll experience a range of emotions and leave wanting to make the world a better place for LQBTQIA+ people. No matter your identity or background, there’s something for everyone to learn from this show.

Please note this event is supported by the Pride & Spark Empowerment Initiative, the Access Pride Fund, and is part of the 2023 Auckland Pride Festival Programme.

Content warning:
Adult themes
Audience interaction
Coming out story
Mentions suicide

Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland
Wed 8 Feb – Sat 11 Feb 2023
Early Bird: $22.00 ea
Adult: $25.00 ea
Senior Citizen 65+: $20.00 ea
Unwaged: $20.00 ea
Equity: $20.00 ea
Additional fees may apply
Restrictions:  M
Website:  Q Theatre

Little Andromeda, Christchurch
Friday 10 & Sat 11 March 2023
Tickets: $20 – $25

BATS Theatre, The Dome
Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 March 2023

LGBTQIA+ , Magic/Illusion , Theatre , Solo ,

Delightful, inspiring and powerful proof we all deserve magic in our lives

Review by Wesley Hollis 22nd Mar 2023

Are you ready to spend the night on the edge of your set, gasping with delight and asking yourself just how did he do that? If your answer is yes, then come and check out The Best is Yet to Come – a Queer Magic Show at BATS theatre. Incredible magician and mentalist Jeremy Rolston offers mind bending illusions and tricks, captivating storytelling and heart-warming support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

As the audience enters the theatre, we are handed a number and a piece of paper detailing support groups for LQBTQIA+ people in New Zealand. The number is used to help pick assistants from the audience throughout the night. However, it is emphasised that anyone who does not feel comfortable participating can pass on the opportunity. The support groups for LGBTQIA+ people are mentioned again later, as Jeremy encourages any audience members struggling with sexuality, gender or mental health to reach out and get help. 

Jeremy’s appearance is stunning as he welcomes us. His forehead is bejewelled, his nail polish sparkly, and he wears dangling earrings, a blue suit jacket and a shirt with green fairies on it. If you had to picture the look of a queer magician, then surely this is it. During the show, the blue jacket is removed and Jeremy performs in a short sleeved shirt to show us that these tricks are nothing so simple as having something hidden up his sleeve. The stage is set up with various props, giving us a hint as to the magic that is to come.

Jeremy lets us know that taking photographs and short videos throughout the show is encouraged. He is instantly charming, charismatic and relatable. As he tells his story it is easy to become emotionally involved. Many queer members of the audience will also know what it feels like to struggle to come to terms with their sexuality and come out to their loved ones, particularly those who, like Jeremy’s, have a religious background.

As well as telling us about his life, Jeremy offers interesting facts about queer history. Along with the heart-warming and awe inspiring aspects, there are some darker moments. There are mentions of panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and hate crimes. But overall, the message of this show is one of hope, love and self-acceptance.

The storytelling and magic blend seamlessly. Elements of the magic demonstrations are used as metaphors for the LGBTQIA+ community and the struggles they face. Jeremy mentions upfront that the focus for the audience during this performance should not be on trying to figure out how each trick is performed, but to focus on the wonder that the magic instils.

And the magic is truly breath-taking. From impressive mathematical tricks, to illusions, to a nail-biting finale, each demonstration has the audience baffled and delighted in equal measure. As someone who is a fan of magic, I appreciate that these are all tricks I have not seen before. The magic isn’t complicated or flashy, the simplicity of each trick allowing Jeremy’s skill as a magician and presenter to speak for itself. He is kind and courteous when it comes to his audience assistants, always asking people if they are comfortable helping him on stage and asking for their name and pronouns.

The worst part of this show is how quickly it is over. I could easily have listened to Jeremy talk all day, then watched him demonstrate his magic all night. Every part of the show was well presented, from Jeremy’s appearance to the use of props, to the tech for the show which includes screen images to support the storytelling, and basic lighting and sound to support the demonstrations. This show deserves to tour the country (and beyond), not only so that everyone can be amazed by what Jeremy has to show us, but also because of the powerful message he has to share. Everybody deserves to love themselves for who they are, and it is inspiring to see Jeremy, having come through some dark places, being a queer magician extraordinaire. Anybody who watches this show will surely leave feeling lighter, delighted by what they have seen and feeling that they too deserve a little piece of magic in their lives.


Maeve O’Connell March 23rd, 2023

Lovely review! Made me even more excited to see this show. Is it possible to update LGBT+ to LQBTQIA+ ? - Thanks Theatreview x Wesley! :-)

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A thoroughly enjoyable evening performed by a talented and capable artist

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 17th Feb 2023

[Apology: this review got lost and is published a week late through no fault of the reviewer.]

There’s magic in the air in the Q Theatre Vault and it’s well worth checking out if it ticks all your boxes.

I’m wary of suggesting this box ticking because it’s a magic show and having your box ticked may well find you some place you never for a moment expected.

This is Jeremy Rolston‘s story, his coming out story. It’s a unique journey. They all are. I know there was magic in my coming out, but it didn’t involve the chicanery that Jeremy proves to be so good at. More about that later.

The marketing tells us Jeremy Rolston is “a man who grew up in the church, resulting in the gay kid being repressed in him until age 25 when he was finally set free. There’s a lot of good going on for the queer community, but still so far to go. Accompanied by mentalism and magic, this is a queer story portrayed, unlike anything you’ve seen. You’ll experience a range of emotions and leave wanting to make the world a better place for LQBTQIA+ people. No matter your identity or background, there’s something for everyone to learn from this show.”

Don’t let the fact that this is a gay coming out story, illustrated, with video, magic and mentalism, put you off, though. This is a show that does not require you to be gay, or in any way LGBTQI+, but it will help a bit if you are an ally.

All in all, though, it’s a great night out.

Arriving at Citizen Q (the bar in the Q Theatre foyer) is proving to be a most gratifying experience. Maybe I’m naive, it has been said, but the fact that audiences are so variable is exhilarating, people on a night out get excited, and all this before you’ve even got through the door – or up or down the stairs – into the performance spaces. Last evening, there was a real buzz in the foyer/bar and many of the attendees were in academic regalia. Noticing an old friend in the crowd, I asked what was happening. He told me that it was an SAE Creative Media Institute graduation, particularly for his students, and that he was responsible for all of them. Finding him in good health, and happy, was a great start to the evening for me.

The Best is Yet to Come takes place in the Q Vault down the stairs from bustling Queen Street and into a world that immediately, like magic, leaves the city behind. There is a real buzz in what turns out to be a very full theatre and Jeremy, the star of the show, is already on stage. He looks every bit the magician, smartly dressed, and with a galaxy of shiny sequins on his face. The sequins do give a hint to his sexuality to anyone who might have inadvertently wandered down the stairs, neither knowing where they are, nor why the hell they are there. To the rest of us, the sequins are like polari to a blind man. Here, they scream, is a cousin of Dorothy’s.

I like that. I like that very much. I might even admit to being more than a little bit jelly.

On my seat, there is a double-sided sheet listing all the queer organisations across Aotearoa. It’s comprehensive. I think it might be a programme with notes telling me of Rolston’s extraordinary magical cred, but no, it’s educational and more than appropriate for a show with so much proselytising. Plenty of time to find out the personal stuff and the garrulous Rolston shamelessly tells us anyway. I like that as well. He’s no narcissist, no Ryan Bridge, no Matty McLean, just a man on a mission, an artist who tells us just enough of what he needs us to know, and no more.

I’ve been around the block in glitter and back again in drag, so I don’t need the list but, in retrospect, it is great to share it because an audience consists of a wide range of people and a queer show is no different. More than likely the house consists of people like me who came out decades ago, my partner who came out a couple of decades ago, and our son who is a straight boy and hasn’t come out at all (not a thing straight people need to do) but who is the fiercest advocate for the queer community that you will ever meet. Some might be recently emerged and possibly there might be a few still exploring and discovering who they are. Whatever phase of queerdom each audience member might be at, the list could save lives – and that’s magic in itself. 

Preshow Jeremy is welcoming, fun, and chatty, and his front of house staff are helpful and pleasant. Great so far.

I have to admit to loving magic shows. It could be said that I am the perfect audience. I’m the gullible one, the one who loves to be fooled, tricked, shocked, astounded, and surprised, and I never, never ask myself ‘how was that done?’ Jeremy asks us to set aside our natural sense of curiosity, but I do not need to be asked. I am fortunate to attend the show with my whanau who are not like me. My partner is interested in the mechanics of the chicanery and our son, although he says he tried to sublimate his curiosity, is not able to set aside his obsessive need to know how everything works and to deeply analyse the psychology of the performer.

In the always Spartan theatre, there is a bare stage with two tables covered with items of a miraculous nature, such as Rubik’s cubes. There’s nothing more pleasing than to go to a show that features a mentalist and magical experiences, than to be met by a smiling handsome chap who, by the very nature of the invitation, you have already grown to mistrust. The last wizardy person I trusted implicitly was Harry Potter and look how that turned out for we gender diverse folks. Purebred Muggledom has never felt more hazardous. Rolston, however, is a likeable performer and he is clearly at the top of his magical game. How do I know? Well, he told me, didn’t he. Revisit the line about my gullibility. Nevertheless, he’s personable, confident, friendly, and has the air of someone who knows not only exactly what he’s going to do, but exactly what you’re going to do as well.

Its satisfyingly off-putting.

He starts immediately into his coming out story. It’s hard to say there’s nothing special about his coming out story because everyone’s coming out story is unique and special. His has components that are all too common: raised in a religious home with regular, obsessive church attendance, and the relentless battering that one takes over time from priests, clerics, ecclesiastics, and pastors all of whom seem fixated on Leviticus 18:22 as set down in the King James Version of their Holy Bible. It’s especially horrific if you’re gay and clenched in the iron grip of a babbling Pentecostal.

I doubt Jeremy was ever told that 18:22 is actually a prohibition of incestuous sex between males within the same limits of kinship as the male–female relations forbidden in Genesis, namely parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren, and a few more distant relations. It certainly doesn’t prohibit the odd fumble with some gorgeous boy in Grannies spare room after muffins while bunking sport. Odd how they never tell you that, isn’t it, and I mention it only because Jeremy does, and he describes how it haunted his every waking (and possibly sleeping) moment. He had little choice but to convince himself that being straight was his only option and that his mental health challenges were simply God dragging him uncompromisingly by his wiener towards a heterosexual marriage and life everlasting. Gay was simply not an option no matter how attracted to boys he knew he was. It just wasn’t happening.

It’s hardly surprising that this fine young chap was convinced that he had to be straight despite all the evidence pointing him towards the sanity of same-sex sexuality. He forced himself to establish a clear delineation between sex and romance, a self-deceit I understand all too well. The murmurings of an appreciative audience suggest that many of them understand this also. For teenage Jeremy, praying the gay away proved ultimately fruitless, but then it invariably does.  

Over time, the layers of the onion peeled off and eventually Jeremy took the big step of coming out to his best friend. Without saying as much, it’s clear that he knows that coming out is not something that happens only once and he shares a delightful story about his grandparents, a push from his brother, and the treasure of familial acceptance. There are metaphors and analogies that are useful in marrying the narrative to the magic and the mentalism and the tapestry the artist weaves is both entertaining and moving. He integrates panic attacks, extreme anxiety, and resorting to alcohol as his way of avoiding facing the obvious but he gets there in the end, and the degree of sheer delight he now feels, and is willing to share, is wonderful to behold. There’s nothing quite as joyous as a baby gay released from the shackles of religious tyranny.

Throughout, Rolston presents as a passionate advocate for the queer community. He talks about Pride and the need to express who we are without shame. He speaks about the politics of being queer, of the laws that have been passed, and the work that is still required. His passion is engaging and I find myself, as a world-weary queer activist, drawn into his enthusiasm and passion.

Most of the dates and times he recites I was there for, shed blood for, and the memories are cinemascopic. There is a hint of the evangelist in his text and in his delivery, which is also not surprising given two decades of listening to inexorable anti-Jeremy pulpit rants. However, his discourse is informed, educational, and is driven by the zeal of one on a personal crusade. It’s attractive, necessary, and hopefully effective. It certainly works for me.

Yes, Jeremy is right, we do need pride. Sadly, today we need it more than ever. Progress is being made around the issue of Self ID for transgender people and many countries are finally outlawing the horrors of religious-based Conversion Therapy, but the United States has more laws on its books against LGBTQI+ people than ever before, and in 73 countries we can still be put to death for openly expressing our love for our fellow man (or woman). In the UK, repressive anti-transgender laws are on the near horizon, and we need to be ever vigilant here in Aotearoa to ensure that our hard-won human and civil rights are not walked back in the way hate speech laws and laws designed to support and protect transgender people have been recently.

So that’s the message holding the show together, but it’s the skills of the expert mentalist and gifted magician – he’s been at it since he was twelve so you would expect some level of expertise – that we’ve actually come to see. His sleight of hand is seamless, his showmanship timeless, and I am fully taken in. Through the sixty minutes of patter and passion there are tricks interspersed and they are simply delightful.

On arrival we were given a number on a small square of paper. Mine is thirty-five. Remember this, it may come up later. On one of the tables there is a device that delivers bingo balls and every now and again, Ralston would use this to throw up a number and the person in the audience with that number would be asked to participate in the next trick. Some of us end up on stage and some are able to complete what is required from their seat. My greatest fear (and joy) sees my number drawn, and mercifully I am able to ‘perform’ my simple but terrifying task from my seat.

I need to be careful here not to give away any trade secrets. I don’t mean how the tricks work, I wouldn’t have a clue about that, but what the tricks are. Let’s just say the show opens with some very clever mental numeracy that would challenge Rachel Riley, Wikipedia takes a bow, there’s some really cool stuff with a table, and we conclude with four seriously deflated paper bags. Throughout there are important messages about equality, homophobia, our horrific suicide and self-harm statistics, and we return to the list for a chat about support. There’s a good smattering of wise advice and an invitation to follow the artist on Instagram. The key message is to keep talking and not give up. As one who proudly wears an inked semi colon, I can certainly vouch for that. 

The Best is Yet to Come is a thoroughly enjoyable evening performed by a talented and capable artist. My gullibility enjoyed it’s evening walk, my son, having promised himself that he wouldn’t try and work out the nuts and bolts of the trickery, failed dismally to do so, and my partner understood deeply, as she always does, the need that we, as human beings, have to understand the world around us. Three quite different experiences each equally satisfying.

After 60 years, I’m comfortable with my own activism but equally pleased to be joined, in fact surpassed, by the activism of young people like Jeremy. We need strong advocacy for our queer life and to know it’s in empathic, passionate, and informed hands is immensely pleasing. But watch those hands, I suspect they could produce rainbows from your ears at any moment without warning. Long may his heart and happiness sustain him. 

Please note: A NZ sign language interpreter will be at the Saturday, 11 Feb, 8.30 pm performance.


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