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Reviews/Fringe World Festival

Tarrant’s tantalising tricks

24 January 2019

Fringe World review: MindBlown Productions, Matt Tarrant: more UNSOLVED
Megamouth at Yagan Square, 23 January⋅
Review by Robert Housley⋅

Being fooled in everyday life is not an experience actively pursued except perhaps by the masochists amongst us. But when you are aware the wool is being pulled over your eyes the allure of not knowing how is tantalising to most. Multi-award-winning magician/mentalist and Fringe World regular Matt Tarrant has made a career out of this pervasive human predilection for knowingly being tricked.

“I want people leaving my show questioning everything they just witnessed – that’s a feeling I love,” Tarrant said, acknowledging the audience from the outset of the performance: “Tonight is about you”.

This Perth season of Matt Tarrant: more Unsolved is its world premiere and includes “all new magic and some fan favourites completely revamped”. At least one audience member is involved in almost all his continuum of engaging tricks. The suspicion of ‘audience plants’ is cleverly addressed with a small soft toy thrown randomly among the near-capacity crowd to select each of the many volunteers. Innovative card tricks feature strongly – his trick to a multitude of music excerpts is something to behold.

Visibility in magic shows is crucial. Tarrant’s “best mate” offsider plays an important role as both videographer – with live, close-up footage beamed on to a large screen – and support player. A ‘mentalist goose’ also plays an amusing cameo role.

Tarrant – a 2016 Australian Survivor participant – has a canny stage presence, keeping the show ticking over while punctuating his delivery with occasional jewels of humour. He more than delivers on his intention to bamboozle the audience who respond with gasps of astonishment and head-shaking disbelief.

He also went beyond my expectation of making it “about you”. After the show he stood outside Megamouth, in the unseasonal rain, seeing us off into the night.

Matt Tarrant:more Unsolved continues until February 10.

Pictured top: Matt Tarrant with audience member. Photo: Trentino Pirio

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Author —
Robert Housley

Robert Housley returns to arts journalism following a 20-year hiatus managing performing arts venues. He was the last arts editor of Perth’s Daily News and has worked as a journalist in London, Cape Town and Amsterdam. Robert’s favourite item of playground equipment is the swing and its enduring challenge: how high can you go?

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