A tightly structured show with amiable patter showcasing the skills of a talented close up illusionist.
Simon Coronel brings whimsy, an understanding of human nature, an acute sense of comic timing and a touch of magic to Fringe World.
The basic tent set up draws all eyes to a picture hanging behind the stage, a detail from an MC Escher sketch depicting a man holding an object that would be impossible to create in real life. Once Coronel has warmed up the audience with a few coin and bottle tricks, he explains that the impossibility of this image is the inspiration for the show, the idea of impossibility being made to at least appear possible.
The show progresses through a selection of illusion vignettes – for a few of them, Coronel is so kind as to demonstrate the process, so that most people can follow the process behind the trick. Each moment of revelation is immediately followed by a subtle piece of conjuring that totally confuses the mind – and other pieces are left as baffling mysteries in themselves. Card tricks are presented, with the audience witness to the cunning process that leaves a volunteer amazed, a long narrative tale ends with a fantastic conclusion, more card trickery performed in Mandarin but still engaging for non-speakers – successfully illustrating the universal nature of the genre. Some classic tricks are presented as practical jokes, confounding audience expectations and leaving us neatly unprepared for his next move, whatever it may be. As he proceeds, a collection of seemingly random props from each trick are kept on a shelf to the side, souvenirs of a diverse show. A beautiful closing routine brings together these elements and encapsulates Coronel’s delight in bending minds, as he creates a physical object that MC Escher may have declined to draw on the basis of its implausible impossibility.
Coronel has a beguilingly self-deprecating manner about him, a refreshing change from the bombastic narcissism of some internationally-known illusionists. The close work that he does is spectacular in its downplayed simplicity, all the more astounding for his lack of overblown showmanship. His patter makes the audience feel involved with proceedings, but in his mimed pieces he is precise and demonstrates clear physical control. He has the rare grace in a solo performer to allow participating audience members take the laughter and applause, and, most importantly, he probably is actually a wizard to perform these tricks.
Glitches in Reality
is an escape from the everyday, with a friendly guide leading the way to amazement.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Simon Coronel: Glitches in Reality
Black Flamingo, The Pleasure Garden, Northbridge
12 – 16 February