Abracadabra atmosphere

Maho Magic Bar

Twilight Electric

July 27 – September 25

“Maho Magic Bar” is part show, part bar and all atmosphere. The experience, brought to Brisbane by Broad Encounters comes direct from Japan as part of the Brisbane Festival early event program, playing at Northshore’s Twilight Electric. Inspired by the magic bars of Japan’s nightlife districts, it immerses its audience members into an interactive neon riot of zany fun for all, making it a very festival experience and a great date or group night out.

The show is an exclusive and unique one, with master magicians from Australia and Japan performing just for you, right in front of you within the show’s purpose-build Tokyo-style magic bar. Five magicians, each with their own unique style and tricks, circulate across five bars/tables, performing close-up magic to the audience members seated around. It’s very communal and all quite efficient as we order from the curated authentic Japanese drinks menu via QR codes for delivery direct to our seat, and interact with the performers as part of their acts. Indeed, close-up magic occurs literally up close and personal right before our eyes as we watch clever card and prop illusions alike from its cast of tricksters. And having audience involvement only adds to the stunned ‘how did they do that’ wonder from even the most cynical of viewers.

Kaori Kitazawa gives us sleight of hand card tricks, smooth operator Shirayuri gets us hands on with some rope illusions, toy magician Santa charms with his unique approach to a range of tricks incorporating stuffed toys and mad genius Sarito (on mission to become the craziest magician in Japan) gets things all fired up and puts way more in his mouth than anybody comfortably should. The space between each of the rotating acts is filled with delights from the special cocktail menu; each time someone orders one, a central routine draws everyone’s focus to numbers such as, for example, a ‘Crazy Panda Cameo’, which momentums things along.

An eclectic, dynamic soundscape elevates the atmosphere too with punctuating performances accompanied by a diverse soundtrack of ‘Man With The Hex’ alongside some Perry Como ‘Magic Moments’. For all of its infectious energy, however, there is a lot going on so it can be a bit of a sensory overload within its haze and low-level lighting, and it can be quite noisy at times requiring real concentration, especially for those seated in the second row around each bar.

The glittering abracadabra magic, astonishing acts and crazy fun of “Mahu Magic Bar” combine in a bespoke show quite unlike any other, full of wonder and magic, meaning that its 60-minute duration flies by in the what seems like the shortest of time. And there is some lovely messaging from host and self-proclaimed swindler, Brisbane actor and performance maker Sho Eba, around its cherry-blossomed central world. While the show does contain adult concepts, special family friendly performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons so that the whole family can be transported to its crazy Tokyo world.

Photos – c/o Nathaniel Mason and Bevin Rijkaart

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