Having missed The Magic Inside during it’s Adelaide Fringe run earlier this year and heard of the outrageous and shocking performances I was keen to see what all the fuss was about at their return as part of the Cabaret Festival. Boy Howdy am I glad I did. Peter (Asher Treleaven) and Bambi Heaven (Gypsy Wood) are “Australia’s most loved delusional dancing magicians”.
The pull quote on their bio says “Imagine if David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer were from the Gold Coast, now roll them in sequins and set them on fire and you’re almost there.”. That should be all you need to know. We are greeted at the door by Peter and Bambi themselves dressed in sequined leotards, offering up compliments on our clothes and bowls of lollies. “The show gets a bit rough” Bambi confides in me as I grab a lolly snake from the bowl, “That’s why I am here” I reply.
As the lights go down Peter gives us a few house rules including this gem “If the tent catches on fire, like it did at rehearsals today, get out as fast as you can. It’s a wooden tent, there is only one door, you’ll work it out.”. They arrive on stage in a blitz of sparkles, big hair and colossal self-confidence. After some affirmations (I believe In Myself, I believe I will Never Get Cancer) they tell us they are a triple threat – Dance, magic and more dance. Their opening dance routine to the Steve Miller Bands Abracadabra is hysterical and sets up the comic chops of this legendary magician and the assistant he met when she was a cage dancer on the Gold Coast.
Peter notices somebody at a front table looking at their phone. ‘The show is up here. I know you were looking up pictures of me, but I’m right here. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO BE.’. Bambi does some impressive boot-scootin’ and bubble gum skipping with the help of two gentlemen from the audience and it’s not long before her instinct to have less clothes on kicks in. The recurring trope of Bambi reverting to her cage dancing days is hilarious and not even vaguely sleazy. It should be said however though, that if nudity offends, this may not be the show for you.
During their astounding Ninja Wizards routine Peter reveals an incredible stage outfit and much more of himself than we were expecting, all to a disco remix of the Theme From The Exocist. Great Barrier Grief is a heart felt, over-blown environmental message which also leaves Mr Heaven as exposed as the reefs coral is to pollution. But it’s when they get to Bryan Adams Heaven that the laughter levels rise to convulsive.
Without going into the details, this piece is one of the most outrageous and scream out loud funny things I have ever seen. In a show packed full of shocks and taboos, this really sets a pretty high (or low) bar in what you can get away with in a cabaret show. The audience reaction was deafeningly loud and my sides were aching from laughing.
They finish up with a display of Bambi’s ‘psychotic powers’ of levitation and a magic show classic to the stains of the Phil Collins classic In The Air Tonight. Treleaven and Wood have worked together for years in burlesque circles, but in Peter & Bambi Heaven they have created one of the greatest comic inventions in history. I for one, hope they continue turning tricks, for many years to come. Hey Presto!
Review by Ian Bell