Writer and Performer: Vincent Gambini
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
Venue: High Street Exhibition Gallery, Ipswich
There’s a danger that officials from trading standards will be calling on Vincent Gambini over his show This Is Not A Magic Show. If the Trade Descriptions Act covers conjuring is unclear, however, despite what Gambini tells us, this is very clearly a magic show, and a darn fine and clever one at that.
What it isn’t, is the Vegas Spectacle, Gambini is much more down to earth, a shy, nerdy purveyor of tricks. He explains he turned to magic in his teens, an absence of many (any) friends leading him to a solitary hobby. It’s part lecture, part trick act with Gambini playing with our minds as much as our eyes.
With just a couple of coins, a pack of cards, oh and a dancing fish, he sets about to prove that magic isn’t real. He is not a wizard he confesses and this certainly isn’t Hogwarts,explaining how and why the tricks he is trying are impossible, then defying his own perfect logic by delivering them. What his friends in The Magic Circle make of it is questionable, but like any good magician, try as we might and in close quarters with no to trickery, the illusions are maintained.
In one way, the show title is correct. Gambini takes us on a journey into more than pure entertainment, his quiet demeanour cleverly crafted to examine the complicit relationship between performer and audience.
Like any good magician though, we are left with more questions than answers. Is Vincent Gambini real or a character, is he really a member of the Magic Circle and of course, is there a helpline for magicians in trouble and, most importantly, how does he do it?
With an audience mere feet away, no gimmicks and even the unplanned bonus of this particular venue having a reflective glass roof, allowing for a discrete birds eye overview, we still can’t believe what is happening in front of our eyes. The Queen Mother was reported to say ‘never shine light on magic’. She was talking about keeping some sense of mystery around Monarchy, but in the case of Gambini, he shines a bright light at the skill of an illusionist but despite the clarity we’re still left blinded.
Reviewed: 31 May 2016| Image: Contributed