Doing theatre for kids is never easy. While the misconception might be that the shows are easy to put together there are so many things that you need to remember when doing theatre, especially comedy for families.
First, it must appeal to the whole family. It is no use having the three-year-olds laughing if the nine-year-old and parents are bored witless. Likewise, you don’t want the parents enraptured by the show while the toddlers are clambering out of their seats because they are bored.
It is for that reason that I take my hat off to The Ringmaster, Sam, and Justin for the work that they are doing with the enchanting and very funny The Greatest Magic Show which is playing as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The premise of the show is simple. The Ringmaster has travelled the world finding tricks and magical items to put together the greatest magic show of all time. And while he has managed to find all kinds of hats, bags, and wands, the show just wouldn’t be complete without his two most important things, his two magicians.
I found that there was just so much to like about this show, in fact my only complaint was that the time flew by so quickly. One moment I was settling into my seat as The Ringmaster started us on our journey and the next moment it felt like he was announcing the finale.
The magic here is simple but no less impressive. The show begins with the kind of magical tricks that you would expect to see at a children’s birthday party, and then it gets more and more impressive until it closes with an illusion which I still can’t work out how they achieved.
Likewise, earlier on in the show there is a trick that involves an audience member’s shoe that still has me completely baffled. I have seen a lot of magic shows over the years, and I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting a family show to have tricks and illusions that left me saying “wow”, but this show has that and more.
I also found The Greatest Magic Show contained a good mix of comedy. While jokes about ‘stinky bum babies’ are designed for the younger audience members, even I found myself chuckling along as Justin mistook a banana for a bandana during one of the tricks and things got messy on stage.
Families who see this show at the Athenaeum Theatre and are sitting on the lower floor should be prepared for their children to become part of the show. But have no fear! It is all good fun and nothing scary or embarrassing will happen.
There is very little wonder that the team behind The Greatest Magic Show has taken it right around the world. This is the kind of show that has a universal language of comedy and magic. As I looked around me in the venue, I realised that everybody was laughing at this show: toddlers, primary school kids, parents, and grandparents alike.
Having said that though, people should know that this is a family show for families with younger (primary school aged children). I can’t see teenagers exactly warming to this show but if you are in the target audience, you will find yourself mesmerised and laughing throughout. This show is the perfect school holiday fun elixir.
Oh, and if you are taking your children don’t forget to let them grab their free magic wand because they are going to need it during the show!
The Greatest Magic Show is now playing at Athenaeum Theatre as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 13th.
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