Ben Hart: Belief?

Pleasant predictability that needs to be seen to be believed

★★★
cabaret review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Ben Hart
Published 04 Aug 2017

He may say that numbers are easier for him than words, but Ben Hart is much more talkative than mathematical in this magic show. His piercing blue eyes and intense tone of voice draw you in to every syllable. He rushes at times, but it’s all a distraction for some well executed tricks.

Nothing in this show is innovative—there's unshuffling playing cards, linking rings, mind reading—but the story holds our attention. Ben talks of Schrödinger, of Piero Manzoni and his tin canned shit, all with the patter of a TV presenter playing for time. He’s down to earth, egging on the audience after a spontaneous outburst. These are the moments that make the show enjoyable – the unscripted, unpredictable touches that highlight Hart’s real love for performing.

Every trick works, every trick gets the requisite level of applause. Some go one step further and distinguish themselves from the banality inherent in magic today. He turns wish tokens to ash and paints them on Sarah’s hand; an unmistakable S appears out of the burnt match. He uses the shadows from a 12-century Persian poem to manipulate a lone chair. But the climax to each reveal often comes too fast, so some tricks don’t impress as much as they might.

Ultimately, it’s all about 'belief', a childlike faith in magic that we lose when we move into adulthood. Hart isn’t original, but he makes for some genuine feats of wonder.