Maho Magic Bar @ The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide 22/2/2020

Settled amongst a sea of warm lights, strewn bodies along the grass and noises of every kind from every angle, lies a dark, neon-lit bar housing a world of mischief and mind-blowing magic. Inspired by the authentic quirkiness and character of the Japanese city nightlife, the Maho Magic Bar is a unique pop-up bar in Adelaide Fringe’s The Garden of Unearthly Delights, which features five charismatic magicians, each bringing their own illusive talents and vivacious humour to the bar tops that show-goers sat in aweing witness to.

Entering through a short maze of lanterns to see four bar tops in each corner of the room, there is an unmistakable hint of mysticism and exotic charm in the low-lit counters and sakura flowers, unique only to Japan and their reserved yet eccentric culture. After the audience is introduced to the evening’s five Japanese magicians, Shun, Kaori, Sarito, Shohgo and Kentaro, and the finalising of our unique Japanese cocktail orders, each bar top was assigned a magician, and so the show began.

Diamonds within cocktail shakers turned to tomatoes within cocktails shakers, which turned to more tomatoes, and more. Flaming wallets and bending lighters – the tricks were senseless, dumbfounding and relentlessly funny on end. Though not soon after the show had begun did the magicians all pause, as the unsuspecting attendees curiously waited for what would be the coming highlights of the show: we were about to witness our first ‘special bar order’.

With a sudden music change being their cue, in unison the magicians each left their little bar tops, donned their plastic hats, and as if transforming from magic show to circus parade, what happened next left audiences stunned collectively bewildered. Through a distinct backdrop of some energetic Japanese pop music, the magicians erupted into a convoy of twirling batons, whistles, flags and flashing lights. Being essentially a flash mob entourage – in a bar – the performance left us in stitches, not knowing what to do with ourselves but take in the ridiculously excessive, yet equally impressive, sideshow performance.

Throughout the night, more of these special drink orders came through, each time bringing audiences to the middle of the room to watch yet another ridiculous and always hysterical grand trick. From Shun’s pop parade to Kaori’s reattaching balloon string, to the hilarious, duct-taped Sarito and his not-so-innocent panda, time after time, the Maho Magic Bar magicians put on an enthralling performance, never failing to leave us speechless – either silent in awe or bending over in stitches from the magical hilarity that ensued.

Fringe Review By Phi Nguyen

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Mason

Tickets and show information at FringeTix.