Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

27/02/2013 - 02/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details


As part of the 2013 New Zealand Fringe Festival, magician Mike Kmiec lets audiences have a look behind the conjurer’s curtain. His new show, The Secrets of Magicians, appears from 27 February to 2 March at the Fringe Bar. However, instead of exposing the secrets of how magic tricks are performed, Kmiec exposes the secrets of the people that perform them.

“I’ve always wondered why a person would willingly engage in an art form that embraces falsehood,” says Kmiec. “It seems to go against the traditional view of art as truth-telling, and yet it uses this contrast to entertain.”

Produced, written, directed, and performed by Kmiec, The Secrets of Magicians tells the story of what drives someone to practice prestidigitation by mixing description, deception, and anecdote.

Kmiec hopes the show dispels common thoughts about magic, and magicians. “So much about magic these days focuses on fooling people, on how the magician knows more than the audience. I’ve never enjoyed that confrontational attitude. We all know there’s no such things as mindreading or levitation. Magicians are only human, and since magic happens in the heads and hearts of other humans who experience it, why not work towards that astonishment together?” 

Kmiec, a Wellington-based magician, considers himself an obsessive hobbyist and researcher in the world of magic. Recently, he has written several scripts for the episodic vaudeville/burlesque Red Light Revue based in Hollywood, California, and is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts. The Secrets of Magicians is his first one-man show.

The Secrets of Magicians premières
at the Fringe Bar in Wellington
during the 2013 New Zealand Fringe Festival.
It opens 27 February and runs through 2 March 2013, at 8.30pm.
Ticket prices range from $10 to $18.
Tickets are available online at .

More magic wanted

Review by Lucy O'Connor 01st 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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