13 June 2013

[Guest post] Keith Brown - Exchange

The following is a guest post from James Alan.


Keith Brown - Exchange
June 7 - 16, 2013, various times
The London Fringe Festival
@The ARTS Project, 203 Dundas St (map)

There are two things that will get me to drive 200km to London and one of them is Keith Brown. (I won't tell you what the other one is, because whatever you're imagining right now is probably much cooler.)

Full Disclosure: Keith is a friend, we recently participated in a magic competition together where he beat me by two percentage points. He's also performed for Abracadabaret in the past and will be joining us again at the end of the month.

I have also done magic shows at the Fringe and I know they can be very stressful. Your entire show has to be set up, on stage, ready to go, usually in about fifteen minutes, and you have to clear the stage completely after every show and start from scratch every time.

I went to see the show with Nick Wallace, who's created three distinct shows for the Fringe over the years. As the doors closed, we looked around us and couldn't see a single empty seat. I leaned over and whispered, "Have you ever seen anyone sell out a late Monday night Fringe show?" "No, have you?" "No." Awkward silence.

I've seen Keith's show twice before, once at the Fringe and once as a self mounted production. Half of the show was new, which is not saying much because the 45 minute show only contains five pieces. It's all mentalism except for Houdini's Needle Swallowing trick.

Still, at that relaxed pace, there's no sense that anything drags. There's an innocent youthful charm that pervades everything. And even though he's swallowing needles, everything is in good taste, even the fart joke.

The title of the show, "Exchange", is apt because the audience participation makes the show and most of the applause goes to those who are chosen and volunteer. There are also several gentle nudges for participants to push their comfort zone, including one audience member drinking pure white vinegar.

While the show itself is fun and moves along at a good pace, it's not much to look at. Keith is wearing a charcoal suit on a stage with black chairs, a table with a black cloth on a black floor in a room with black curtains and black walls. The only colour in the show come from his tie, the blue latex gloves and the the carrot (it's not what you think.) But I realize the bare bones blank box feel is part of Fringe. If you want bright and colour full, The ARTS Project is also a cool little gallery which you can wander around before and after the show.

If London's not too far out of your way, go see this. Although, if Monday night is any indication, it looks like tickets for the last three shows will be hard to come by.

Three shows left:
June 14 - 5:00 PM
June 15 - 9:30 PM
June 16 - 3:00 PM

Tickets $15 ($10 if you have a London Fringe Backer Button)

Note that the Fringe operates under very strict rules and latecomers will not be admitted.

-James Alan


Thank you James for guest posting at Canada's Magic!

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