Gluttony’s La Petite Grande. Fri Feb 13
As there are only so many stories in the world, the genius is in the telling of them, so in magic, there are just so many tricks – conceal, reveal, misdirect, seem to fail, reverse the failure. You can go so far around the world with a silk hanky, a pack of cards and re-joinable string, but it’s what you do with it that counts.
Dabek vaguely resembles a very young Peter Capaldi (the current Dr Who), and has something of his intense focus, but with a dose of theatrical self-loathing which manifests in his constant needling of the audience, alternately insulting or perving on the women. He seems antagonistic, maybe so that he can’t be accused of seeking approval or pandering to the crowd. He is far too young to be a creepy, inappropriate uncle or the office toad, but you recognise the type.
In the tradition of British seaside postcard humour, he is joyously vulgar, salty and retro. The problem for me is that there were so many groaners peppering the set it felt like a parody of a stage magician, but setting that aside, everyone else was having a blast.
Dabek delivers the goods at breakneck speed. A magic fan will have seen some of the tricks before, but there is persistent pleasure in being fooled again. If you’re a newcomer to the genre, maybe having come down in the last shower, you will be genuinely mystified by some of the gags and I take my hat off to anyone who can still make card tricks fresh and engaging as he does.
His closing piece is a wonderfully subversive shadow puppet performance that will ruin The Lion King for those of a sentimental nature and really brought the show home, eliciting spontaneous rather than milked large applause.
Paul Dabek – Mischief continues at Gluttony’s La Petite Grande from 9pm until Sun Mar 15.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Neil Kendall