Review: Band of Magicians

James Galea, Adam Mada, Ben Hanlin and Brett Loudermilk

How well do you trust your partner? Your daughter? Your brother's best friend? How about that guy three rows ahead of you, slightly to the left?

Thanks to the mind-taunting stunts of the fabulous four that are the Band of Magicians, you will be eyeing everyone up with suspicion as you try and work out who's in on the act. Surely some audience members have been prepped to play into the hands of these clever tricksters.

It's the only explanation for how the four could know the activity, place and famous person that three audience members were collectively thinking of. It's the only reason for British magician Ben Hanlin knowing which number one chosen audience member was thinking of. And how he managed to create a mind-blowing number of mathematical equations to match that answer – 73.

Interestingly enough, my husband had that same number in his head. Was the audience lead into guessing that number? Hmmm. Well, even if Hanlin knew the number, I admit that his fast affinity with maths is still impressive. And it's clearly the only way the four could have known what coloured clothing items another audience member was going to colour in on her picture.

Yep, I had James Galea, Brett Loudermilk, Adam Mada and Hanlin all figured out. That was, until the audience member who got up to colour in the picture turned out to be a volunteer ‘scapegoat'. The original person who caught the magicians' audience participation Frisbee, flicked it to someone else, as she really didn't want to go on stage. The second woman was trying desperately to also pass it on (to me!) when she was picked. She clearly didn't have a clue what was going on.

“I was flabbergasted,” she told me afterwards. And yet, the magicians got her colours right – and all stripped off to reveal they were wearing those same chosen coloured clothing items. What?! Ok, you got me!

I quite like the way this Aussie, British and American quartet liked to pretend to include us in their magical secrets. Ellen DeGeneres has them on speed dial and after last night's sell-out at the Bruce Mason Centre, I bet a few Takapuna-ites are hoping to grab their numbers too.

We learn about palming cards. For magic novices like myself, this is hiding the card in the palm of your hand and keeping your palm face down when shuffling and dealing. You then sneak that card onto the pack so when you want to draw it, tada!

Aha! Got it, I think. That is, until an audience member's marked card mysteriously turns up in James Galea's pocket without his hand going anywhere near there. Ok, you've still got me.

I won't give the game away, but I can tell you the illusions, tricks and wizardry don't stop there.

Personally, I cannot get over Brett Loudermilk swallowing a balloon that is as long as his torso. Where does it go..? My calculated, lateral thinking husband is won over by Adam Mada's floating table. And the woman two rows ahead of me is won over by his magical teapot which pours delicious pina coladas.

I could go on but that would be ruining the surprise. So, who do you trust? Take them along to Band of Magicians, at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna until Sunday September 13.

- Theatreview


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