Hocus pocus with loads of charm

Brendon Peel… final performance in Kloof tonight, then two weekend hows at the Hilton Arts Festival.

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Stage: Hocus Pocus with Brendon Peel – Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Kloof, at 8pm today (September 13) and two shows at the Hilton Arts Festival:
8.30pm on Friday (September 14) and 6pm on Saturday (September 15).)
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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SOMETHING altogether different is on offer this week at the cosy Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof – performances by talented, self-taught magician and mentalist Brendon Peel, a 25-year-old from Port Elizabeth who has already made his mark in his profession.

A regular performer at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, he has also performed at the Edinburgh Arts Festival, and next year will be performing there again and at festivals in Brighton and in Prague. In addition, Peel will return to Durban over the Easter holiday period next year to present two different shows at the Umbilo branch of the Rhumbelow Theatre – one for family audiences and one specially for children.

That’s a good thing because, due to a very busy schedule, the charming and confident Peel is able to perform only two performances in Durban this week, the first of which was last night (Wednesday, September 12) and the last of which is at 8pm tonight (Thursday, October 13).

I am not a great lover of magic shows but Peel’s talent, his easy rapport with and deft handling of his audience, together with his talent for quick jokes and sharp retorts to overly enthusiastic audience members who might think they are more amusing than the performer, is admirable and enjoyable.

To say too much about his acts would give away the surprises and spoil one’s enjoyment. Suffice it to say the young man, neatly attired in a suit and on a stage accommodating, among other things, a table and an easel with a map of the world, offers a good variety of routines. And much enjoyment.

His slick show sees him offering everything from card tricks and sleight of hand to more mesmerising moments involving the ability to memorise well, read body language and/or or manipulate volunteers subliminally through psychological suggestion.

So, for instance, we get him  drawing something in a sketch book which a volunteer is imagining; have him performing the oldest trick in the world involving a red ball and plastic cups; and correctly identifying cards chosen at random by members of the audience. There’s even a pretty dangerous routine involving long nails.

The best tricks are kept for last and I will only say that one involves a remarkable test of memory related to that world map on stage, a book and flags; while the other involves a One Rand note and assorted cards chosen by audience members.

There is much in the show to entertain and enthral and if you have even a passing interest in magic and mentalism, I would recommend you pop along.

Tickets for the final performance in Kloof tonight cost R150 (R130 for pensioners) and can be booked at Computicket or by phoning Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

Tickets for Peel’s two slightly shorter performances of the same show at the Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College this weekend can be booked by phoning  033 383 0126 / 7. Start times for these performances are 8.30pm on Friday (September 14) and 6pm on Saturday (September 15).

NOTE: For my fun interview with Brendon Peel click here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-3C


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