Mr Gorski
Children, Circus, Comedy, Fringe World, Magic, News, Performing arts

Catch him if you can!

It may have started with a stutter, but Daniel Gorski’s career looks pretty smooth from this angle. His alter ego, Mr Gørski, has been touring arts festivals around Australia since 2014, with his blend of mime, slapstick, circus and magic, and he’s also known as Jango on ABC Kids’ Hoopla Doopla. He returns to 2019 Fringe World courtesy of Sydney Fringe Festival’s 2018 Perth Tour Ready Award.

In this Q&A, Daniel Gorski spills the beans on a career that began with a speech impediment…

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an entertainer?
Daniel Gorski:  From a very early age! I grew up on the stage. I was put into acting classes at the age of eight because of a debilitating stutter. I learnt to control my breathing, improved my confidence and developed a passion for vaudeville and comedy acts. I have a memory of my first show… skinny little Dan in a cave-man outfit with a papier mâché club saying, “This cave-man he wears skins, lots of muscles on his shins…” I remember doing a double take at my skinny little legs and hearing the laughter from the audience and thinking, “I did that.”

S: Tell us about your training…
DG: I have had the opportunity to learn from some amazing international trainers from as far afield as Russia, China, Argentina and Canada, prior to, during and after I attended both Circo-Arts in New Zealand and the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne. Over the three years I spent in formal training I acquired an amazing number of skills including the ability to teach myself.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
DG: I have a saying that the artist needs the Ps: Practice (do it regularly), Patience (it doesn’t happen over night), Persistence (don’t give up) and Pardon yourself (be prepared to be bad at it for a while)… and share your ideas with your friends as you never know who might have a different perspective. Allow for tangents when working on a show – you never know what will come from the creative process.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
DG: I love sharing an experience with the audience, seeing the amazement on people’s faces, making a connection: it’s happening right here and now and it’s magical.

S: Career highlights so far?
DG: I have performed at massive events and had people ignore me, but on the flip side, I’ve performed for three people in a fringe show, had an amazing experience and connected with the audience. In 2018 I had the privilege to work with the Clown Doctors, connecting and sharing some amazing moments with kids, parents and the staff on a very different level.

S: Career lowlight?
DG:  I was working in a cabaret show, my last act of the night and I felt on top of my game! I took my bow, stepped off the stage immediately rolled my ankle. My leg crumpled beneath me and I literally fell out of the spotlight and hobbled back stage.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
DG:  I was working for CIRCA in Brisbane performing in a show called 31 Circus Acts in 30 Minutes. It’s as simple as it sounds, such a fun show. In an acrobatic sequence I tore my pants right down the middle of crotch. I stopped the show and asked the audience if they’d mind allowing me the chance to change because it would be a little more difficult than usual to continue. The audience’s reaction was fantastic – they were laughing and cheering, then together they chorused as one with a comedic NOOO! So I had to continue the show with my knees together.

S: This isn’t your first appearance at Fringe World – what drew you back?
DG: I won a Sydney Fringe Festival award in 2018 that guaranteed me a spot in Fringe World this year, so I am pretty excited to come back.

S: Tell us about your Fringe World show, Mr Gørski!
DG:  Mr.Gørski is deemed dangerously entertaining, he’s almost caught! The show is about overcoming your inner demons, and about questioning the overwhelming voice of authority at a time when sometimes what you are told to believe and what is right in front of you don’t quite match up.

S: What’s your favourite part of the playground?
DG: I have a six year old niece and we spent quality time together over the New Year holiday. We are like two peas in pod. This visit we sat in a big circular swing reading each other silly jokes for hour, laughing until our faces hurt.

You can catch Mr Gørski at the Big Top at the Woodside Pleasure Garden from 27 January to 3 February at the child-friendly time of 4pm.

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Magician onstage with audience member
Fringe World, Magic, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Tarrant’s tantalising tricks

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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Matt Penny in Find the Lady
Magic, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

So much more than magic

Review: Matt Penny, Find the Lady ·
Subiaco Arts Centre, 6 June ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Find the Lady is a one-man show that weaves stage magic into the bittersweet monologues of a grifter who is propelled to fame, fortune, and ultimately, betrayal. Multi-talented local magician and theatre-maker Matt Penny stars as a small time con artist who stumbles into a career as a world class magician.

Opening with an explanation of the “three-card monte” scam (aka “find the lady”), and revealing his trick deck of cards, Penny’s hustler character first warms up the crowd with some classic playing card stunts. We then follow the swindler to a strange encounter that greatly enhances the scope of his illusionist skills. As his abilities advance, he becomes a prize-winning practitioner of magic – and the mark for someone else’s long con.

Fast talking and funny, Penny is an amiable storyteller who shares his tale as if over a pint at the pub. His casual banter is paired with nimble-fingered piano playing, nifty card tricks and simply eerie mind reading (a warning for the anxious – there is some audience participation involved!)

The winner of the 2018 Fringe World “Blaz Award”, presented to the best writing for performance by a WA writer, Find the Lady is charming and clever. With the magic tricks integrated into a narrative that transitions from cheeky to melancholy, it’s much more engaging than a traditional stage magic show. The combination of storytelling and apparent telepathy also makes this magic more unbelievable, as attested by the audible swearing of disbelief heard from an audience member on opening night.

This production is worth braving the winter weather to catch, and marks the start of what looks to be a strong Subiaco Theatre Festival season. Don’t let the rain tempt you to stay indoors this week – you’ll leave Find the Lady with a smile on your face and one question:

“How did he do that?”

Find the Lady runs until 9 June 2018.

Read an interview with Matt Penny.

Pictured top: An amiable story teller: Matt Penny in ‘Find the Lady’.

 

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Electric Fields, Kardajala Kirradarra, Skinnyfish Sound System
Calendar, February 18, hip hop, Magic, Performing arts

Perth Festival: Electric Fields + Skinnyfish Sound System + Kardajala Kirridarra

Music ∙
9 February @ Chevron Gardens, Elizabeth Quay ∙
Presented by: Perth Festival ∙

We open the Gardens this February with a hot new wave of contemporary artists – soulful innovators  who fuse  tropical beats and infectious grooves that transcend time.

Electric Fields,  a duo of grinding electro-pop splendour, show us why they are tipped as the hottest new act in the country. With an angelic lead vocal evoking  Anohni and  Sia in each spine-tingling  crescendo, they’ll take you to dizzying heights.

Kicking off the evening we present Kardajala Kirridarra, a troupe of women from the sand hills behind the remote community of Marlinja, in the Northern Territory. Combining ethereal voices with hip hop and electronica, in collaboration with producer/multi-instrumentalist Beatrice Lewis, these women will explode your concept of Country.

Closing the night are maestros Skinnyfish  Sound System,  remixing their catalogue of masters  with live didj  and  beat poet who  throw  Arnhem Land  rap with flair.

More info:  https://www.perthfestival.com.au/event/electric-fields-skinnyfish-sound-system-kardajala-kirridarra

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Pierre Ulric
Children, Features, Magic, News, Performing arts, Theatre

The scientist turned magician

Starting with love and ending in blood, Pierre Ulric’s ‘Confessions of a Magician’ isn’t your standard conjuring show. In his Fringe Session Q&A, he reveals more about the magical practices behind both his adult cabaret and children’s shows.

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Pierre Ulric: It’s been a nagging feeling for a very long time. I’ve always been into ‘art’ since I was a child, but having had a lot of different interests and pursuits, it has not always been the main focus. Following scientific studies and 15 years of industry work, only recently have I decided to go full time as a performer and creator. So one could say I took my time a little.

Pierre Ulric
Pierre Ulric. Photo: Lighthouse Photography

S: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both?
PU: I was self-taught through books, videos and meeting other magicians. Traditionally, magic has always had very arcane way of being taught and there are not many formalised systems, other than mentoring (which I never really had the opportunity to receive). Things are changing rapidly with social media though.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
PU: The art of making the impossible, possible… event if just for a moment. I like to call it ‘theatrical surrealism’, because really you are simply acting out things that cannot normally be real and trying to make it feel authentic.

S: Career highlight?
PU: My last few years of producing shows at Perth and Adelaide fringe festivals and performing to full houses.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
PU: The unbridled creative licence!

S: What has been your funniest career moment so far?
PU: Cutting myself on stage with some broken cutlery, bleeding profusely and having to finish the show with a handkerchief wrapped around my hand… no wait… that wasn’t funny.

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe World show!
PU: Well I am producing two shows at Fringe this year: A children’s sci-fi magic and science extravaganza entitled ‘A Fabulous Teleportation Experiment’ and an adult cabaret piece entitled ‘Confessions of A Magician’. That’s the one I want to tell you about some more.

I wanted to produce a show that was not your standard linear exhibition of magic ‘tricks’. Through a number of theatrical vignettes, I open the door on what it means to be a professional magician in this era, what there is to love about it, to hate about it and even uncover some of the real secrets of the art… by performing it.

Without going more into the plot, it is a show that starts with love, and ends in blood. It features deadpan comedy, visual and psychological pieces and (hopefully) generally very strong – and challenging – performance pieces.

S: This isn’t your first time at Fringe – what drew you back?
PU: After a few years of trials and leaning, I’m starting to get closer to what I want to achieve with these shows. Furthermore, with better ticket sales and larger rooms, it actually becomes a sustainable business model too. Oh – And also it’s just the best motivation to get working!

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
PU: Definitely a good slide! I love the sense of abandon…

Confessions of a Magician plays Downstairs at the Maj, February 13-17.

A Fabulous Teleportation Experiment plays The Palace Society at Elizabeth’s Palace, January 27 – February 17 and The Red Room at Creatures Next Door, February 24-25.

Pictured top is Pierre Ulric. Photo: Jack Hawkins Photography.

Pierre Ulric
Photo: Josh Boland Photography

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Calendar, Circus, Dance, January 18, Magic, Music, Performing arts

Fringe World: Summerset Arts Festival: Seaside Spectacular

Wednesday 24 January @ Scarborough Beach Amphitheatre ∙
City of Stirling ∙

To commemorate 10 years of free and affordable events, the City of Stirling’s 2018 Summerset Arts Festival will launch with a free community event; Seaside Spectacular.

Amazing aerial acrobats, enchanting lolly pop lyras, trance-inducing mermaids and more will descend on the Scarborough Beach Amphitheatre for an evening of family friendly fun. Start your night by enjoying a meal or drink at one of Scarborough’s many famous restaurants and bars, or pack a picnic and enjoy the views. Then as the sun sets, step beyond the redevelopment works and escape into a world of magic and wonder. Featuring accompaniment by international jazz harpist Michelle Smith, this special one-off event is not to be missed.

More inf0: https://www.summersetartsfestival.com.au

Email: summerset@stirling.wa.gov.au

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Features, Magic, Performing arts, Theatre

A dedicated man of magic

Magic, piano playing, betrayal… what more could you ask for in a night out?

Matt Penny’s new show, Find the Lady combines all three.  Seesaw caught up with the WA-based magician and theatre maker to find out more.

Matt Penny

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Matt Penny: I’ve been performing magic and putting on shows since I was a kid.  I think it was more just a need to be loved rather than any hankering to be artistic.

S: Tell us about your training…
MP: Back when I was young (last century!) the world of magicians was very different to how it is now.  These days you can learn and buy magic online but in the olden days the only way to learn was to meet other magicians and then you’d ‘swap’ tricks.  It was a much more tactile way to learn.  I was formally trained to play the piano and beaten with a stick if I didn’t do my practise. I became an actor for the glory, fame and money (sigh).

S: And your artistic practice?
MP: I have been an actor, writer, magician, mentalist, pianist, director, animator, MC and part time Karma Sutra model.   I tend to have a few projects on the go and just kind of wait for one to bubble to the surface and then go with that one.  It’s not an ideal way to work but it makes for an interesting life.

S: Career highlight so far?
MP: One year I did a show called Micro Magic.  The way it worked was that I was set up under the big screen in the Perth Cultural Centre doing close up magic on a tiny stage.  We had a camera set up on just my hands and this was streamed onto the twelve metre screen.  It was Australia Day and we managed to catch the crowd as they came back from the fireworks so about two thousand people stopped to watch this tiny magic show on the big screen.

S: Career lowlight?
MP: Performing my one man show Frank the Mind Reading Hotdog to three people in Auckland, New Zealand (one reviewer, his girlfriend and someone who worked on the bar upstairs).  Got a great review though.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
MP: I love the thrill of being onstage and, if I can, making an audience laugh.

S: What made you decide to come back to Fringe World?
MP: I’ve performed shows at every Fringe World since it started.  I don’t think I could imagine a January without preparing for a show.

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show!
MP: I’ve spent a number of years trying to think of a way to combine my love of magic with my love of theatre.  Find the Lady is a piece of theatre about a con man who steals the gift of mind reading from an old friend.  It’s a rags to riches tale but fame can be fleeting when you trust the wrong people.  As soon as you get to the top people start plotting your downfall.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
MP: I’m looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of international magicians who are invading our shores this Fringe season.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
MP: Well, these things have been banned for years, but I used to love the old witch’s hat.  Look it up.

“Find the Lady” plays The Blue Room Theatre 27-28 January.

Pictured top: Matt Penny. Image by Susie Blatchford & Alex Manfrin.

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