Fringe audiences accustomed to sitting on a bare plank in tents in order to see the acts they want to catch, but The Hellenic Club is a harder ask. It is a small hall with a small stage and no rake or tiering in the seating. Many of us were reduced to standing at the back of the seats in order to see Jean-Luc’s clever illusions.
It was no easy ride for Jean-Luc either. There were a number of children in the audience, understandable because magic shows are not so common in Perth. However they were a restrained audience in comparison to the reception Fringe crowds have accorded many other performers. Jean-Luc worked hard and eventually the spectators warmed up.
He was accompanied by two beautiful assistants, Egypt and Melissa in a variety of showgirl costumes who later proved to be excellent dancers/ gymnasts.
The theme of the show was a tour of the highlights of Paris. As each segment was introduced, there were pictures of the Eiffel Tower, The Latin Quarter, The Opera, a Metro sign and a French street scene projected onto a screen above the stage and French songs to accompany the routines.
The opening had Jean-Luc dressed as an artist in Montmartre. Egypt shrouded him in a satin cape and at once he emerged in a dinner suit. Somehow he managed to make a small table become airborne. A young girl tugged at the tablecloth to lower it to no avail.
The magic steadily increased in showmanship and skill. In a café scene he poured wine for a customer while taking a call from his girlfriend on his mobile. He was distracted and moved slightly away from the table and the wine glass obligingly hovered mid-air to be filled.
An empty egg carton on the table was soon filled with eggs, seemingly produced from nowhere.
The next trick really got the audience enthused. Egypt set up a tray of glasses. Jean-Luc produced a paper bag clad bottle labelled “your fav drink”. From this he managed to produce a different beverage in each glass. Choc milk, coffee, beer, red wine, chardonnay and vodka and orange. He then distributed them to various audience members who sipped them and pronounced the beverages genuine.
More tricks in a quick flit to the Moulin Rouge which also allowed Melissa and Egypt to demonstrate an athletic can-can complete with cartwheels.
As there were no takers to be sawn in half from the audience Melissa obligingly stepped in. Two sturdy male volunteers padlocked and strapped her in. The box lid was lowered down and closed with locks. Then with much comic business about the blade “still having blood on it from last year”, Jean-Luc hammered in two large metal blades and a couple of daggers for good measure. He then separated the two halves of the casket standing in between to emphasize the point. Happily, when the box ends were re-joined Melissa emerged unscathed!
Another absolute winner was the choice of a small girl Eva, from the audience to re-enact France’s most famous horse race. To huge applause she obligingly galloped back and forth the stage 3 times while shuffling a deck of numbered cards. The last race she even did in slow motion for the camera. Each time he stopped her she chose a number but only once did they match the four numbers displayed on a stand onstage. Tension mounted. This wasn’t working. Finally Eva removed a small banner on the stand revealing figures that magically matched her choices.
Vince joined Jean-Luc onstage in a crowded Metro journey where they both tore up their newspapers in order to read a small portion of the news. Then we were shown that on a Perth train journey we would not be so crushed and hey presto, the newspaper re appeared unscathed so Vince could read the whole paper in comfort.
Finally in a scene in a Paris apartment a couple prepares to attend a gala ball. The husband complains his shirt is not ironed. His gorgeous wife buttoned up the shirt and covered him as he lay down on an ironing board. Using an outsize iron she ironed him away completely. Imagine her surprise when she removed the cloth to find a showgirl on the ironing board!
Magically it was a very accomplished show. The script was a little corny but once the tricks really started to roll the audience couldn’t have cared less.
A fun show!
Jean-Luc, The Cool Conjurer presents
Paris is magic!
Venue: Hellenic Club | 75 Stirling St, Perth, WA
Dates: February 5 – 9, 2015