The Purple Rabbit (Strut & Fret/Adelaide Fringe Festival)
The night is summery, the house is round and for this world premiere, the rabbit is purple. As an American-accented voice announces the evening’s rules of engagement, we nervously try our own magic trick by becoming invisible – there are whispers of spectator participation. Our worry is useless. Public participation – and it is plentiful – will be entirely voluntary.
The disparate quintet that hosts this cornucopia of conjuring share a love of magic, and their unique forms of sorcery explore what it means for everyone to be a magician. For the most part, the scenic connections to each other end there, and the individual performances are held together by a thread that could be as tenuous as, say, the mention of a purple rabbit. Naming rights, bunny ears, and a glimpse of a purple vibrator are about the extent of leporid influence, but that matters little. The cast, which mostly performs one-on-one with stylized stage support from the others, is tight-knit, confident and above all, very entertaining.
There are many highlights among the surprising range of skills on display; each performer showcasing their sorcery superpower in a distinctive style and at a steady pace. Mononymous mouth magician Kerol baffles throughout with his prodigious beatboxing skills. A one-person quartet, the record-breaking cork-jumping mic master literally and figuratively smokes. Emma Phillips’ sleight of hand is utterly fascinating and her craft, designed for the stage, is a popular foil for shenanigans.
Sexual psycho-psychologist Harper Jones lights up the scene as she recounts revelations of a very personal nature from willing participants. These and other exchanges throughout the show are handled well; the risk of any interaction completely derailing the show at any point seems high.
The no-name magician has something unusual about his pants and he delivers his innovative dick trick to lots of giggles. Besides being our new best friend at a party, Dom Chambers’ tricks are novel, clever and humorous, suggestively illegal. His crafting of the trick of the card into a wallet is terrific.
Several details are remotely lost, but the bulk of the hints are not. The accompanying music is wide, from Vivaldi to Disney. Smoke and props are plentiful and there is constant good energy everywhere. The group game show is scheduled at the perfect time to keep us engaged.
The rabbit comes out of the hat to finish – the audience is divided into five groups, led by the five magicians, all performing the same trick. The finish is noisy, chaotic and impressive. Promising mischief, magic and chaos, The purple rabbit offers that and more. A Fringe playing card, this show is an original undertaking with fun illusions, raunchy overtones, and a few tricks that linger after the end.
The purple rabbit plays at Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 20.