James Galea’s Poof! Secrets of a magician, is part Vegas-style, wow-moment-filled, close-up card magic, part behind-the-lunch-shed, cheeky smut, and many parts entertaining.
In sequinned jacket, he takes the stage and welcomes us into his world of storytelling. In fact, this show is more about storytelling than it is about magic, although in James’ life, the two are inextricably linked.
Galea has that Aussie/Hollywood stage presence shared by the likes of Hugh Jackman; confident, unmistakable Aussie accent, and a downplayed way of “showing off” a multitude of skills. In this case, magic, storytelling, and playing the piano.
We learn that his mentor, Magic Ian, set him on the pathway to fame, with some timely advice, evidence of which is seen on stage during this show, and we’re sure Ian would be proud.
While a “confessional” show might have you expecting stories of great tragedy and depth, you don’t find them in Poof! Instead, you have more of a romp spanning the spectrum from clever to fun, delivered with Liberace polish albeit with the campness dialled down.
There are parts of this show that are perfectly baked and moreish (from the close-up interactions making cards behave, and even disappear, along with a smart, layered, storytelling finale) and some that I’m sure Galea will continue honing for even better effect (from the psychic set up to the gaydar sequence).
A delighted and chortling audience left the Dunstan Playhouse on a high after opening night, and there will be two more opportunities to share their experience before this short run ends on Sunday, June 13.