Review by Zoe Koulakis
Venue: Studio 7 at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
When: 20 Feb — 17 March
“A black butterfly flaps its wings in the middle of the amazon” is a sentence you will become very familiar with if you see Ben Hart: The Nutshell. The show uses the theme of the butterfly effect as an anchor point and explores magic through the lens of Ben Hart’s peculiar brain.
One of the most compelling aspects of The Nutshell is Hart’s ability to engage the audience on a deeper level than most superficial magic shows.
Capturing its audience through a balancing act of monologue, audience involvement, comedy, sound, and magic, The Nutshell is unlike any show I’ve ever seen; it is far more theatrical than your stock standard magic show. The use of music, which is admittedly a little too loud at times, adds a sense of tension to the show and creates an atmosphere I can only describe as mystical.
But without a doubt my favourite part of the show isn’t the tricks themselves, though they are flawless, but the thought provoking monologues. Ben takes you on a (nutshell) tour of his brain, and the universe as he explores magic through anecdotal stories, and theories.
While I am certainly no expert in slide of hand or magic tricks, I often find myself more frustrated at “how they did it” than invested in the show itself. But before long I realise there is no use in asking myself “how did he do it?” because the tricks are simply bullet proof.
The show will have you smiling and laughing, and like any good magic show, will likely have you standing on stage helping Hart perform his next trick. Though the show, with its mild crude language and themes, is more suited for adults, the kids in the audience were all stunned and certainly not disappointed; one kid even yelled “how do he do that?” after a particularly impressive trick.
Whether you are a magic enthusiast or just a general Fringe-goer, this show is has something in it for you. You might love the theatrical side, as I did, you might love the captivating tricks, as the kids certainly did, or you just might love Ben Hart, and his brilliant nutshell brain, as I believe everyone in the audience did.
Either way Ben Hart: The Nutshell is a must see this fringe season.