Tarrant has a funny and friendly on-stage persona which he has built over the last eight years, making his magic look very easy, almost an after-thought. He is generous with his stories of previous failures and happily plays with the expectations of the audience.
My eight-year old companion was highly amused by Bruce, the goose, Tarrant’s mind-reading sidekick, and we were both impressed with the card tricks as well as the mind-reading.
Tarrant interacts with random audience members by throwing them the catbus (a familiar figure for my son, who is an avid fan of the Miyazaki film My Neighbor Totoro); some are brought up on stage and some stay on the floor. In mostly respectful ways, Tarrant prods them for help with his magic.
At times it all feels slightly slow. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to circus shows where there is never a dull moment, but the tricks – thought great – seem a tad thin on the ground. Showing footage of famous magicians Penn and Teller before the start of the show might not have been the right strategy, either, as those two remain in a class of their own.
One of the original aspects of the show is that Tarrant asks the audience to go to a link given to us before we enter the venue, to sign up and get a surprise at the end.
Overall, the performance is well done and we certainly walked out shaking our heads in wonder and feeling that the title Unsolved was highly appropriate.
Matt Tarrant’s Unsolved is being performed in the Flamingo at Gluttony until March 18.
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