At the beginning of the show, Fringe mainstay Matt Tarrant recounts how magic has always been the one constant source of happiness in his life ever since he was a kid, back when magic was still desperately uncool. Fast forward some 20 years, and Matt is now one of many acts that have ushered in a new era for magic – gone are the top hats and magic wands, now Matt stands on stage in a simple black top and jeans, rips and all, and his magic is cooler than ever.

But more than being just a magic act, Matt is intent on connecting with his audiences. In his latest show, “Happy”, he weaves in stories of his own happiness but by also incorporating the audience he is able to explore what it is that makes others happy, too (Turns out its not just booze and videogames – who knew?) His sentimental approach may repel some of the more cynical millenials who have become immune to such open displays of emotion, but this is a show that is as much about storytelling, as it is about magic.

As for the magic itself, don’t go in expecting the kind of obvious spectacle you might be used to from the likes of Australia’s Got Talent. If that’s what you’re looking for, go watch some Criss Angel reruns or something. Matt is, first and foremost, a mentalist with a forte for card tricks. There’s no smoke and mirrors here and whatever he’s doing, you can be sure he’s doing it right in front of your dumb, untrained eyes. There’s an understated and subtle quality to Matt’s genius which would have every chance of fooling the almighty Penn and Teller themselves. The show reaches a crescendo when he performs a trick over the phone with an unsuspecting victim which is hard to give justice in this review – it’s one you’ll just have to experience yourself.

As he admits himself, Matt loves the impossible and that really is the word to use for everything you see on stage. Genuinely pushing the limits of logic and belief, ‘Happy’ had me constantly questioning “How the hell did he do that? No, seriously… I need to know. I’m not leaving until you tell me.”

★★★★☆

Name of show: Matt Tarrant – Happy

Venue: Cornucopia, Gluttony

Duration: 60 mins

Tickets: Full Price: $30.00 Concession: $27.00

Tickets available here

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