Patter, A Quiet Meditation on Magic

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

A magician and his beautiful assistant attempt to perform magic tricks. Though never truly successful, Peter Arnold and Melanie Wilson perform with absolute conviction as they proceed to demonstrate how the magician acts to fool you though here it is the magician who is the fool. Two quiet clowns haplessly stumbling through routines without a discernible end. Mistakes are made, but undeterred the performers soldier on as though nothing has happened.

Not so much deconstruction of the magician’s art (there is none of the brash bravado of Penn and Teller), this is more about the art of failure and repetition. How, through practising sleight of hand and misdirection, the audience can be amazed. Arnold and Wilson choose to take the theory and play games with it – like a mimed fleck of dust that is thrown between the performers, to appear and disappear all over the stage.

Yet amongst the oddity and hilarity of some of the games, it is the unexpected use of one real trick – a member of the audience writes their name on a piece of paper which is then ripped up only to be pulled intact from a lemon – which leaves you wanting more of the real magic. Despite this, the show is performed with an understated pleasure and a winning charm. This show is exactly what it says on the label: a quiet meditation on magic.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 27