Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★★ Date attended: 15/03/2019
Charlie Caper's show Robotricks is not just another magic show, as is cleverly constructed to bring elements of magic, science, and futuristic technology into a sci-fi universe. It is endearing to see Caper make a powerful statement to discuss the vital role that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be in our human-driven society. While the theme of the show may sound a bit too advanced for the younger minds, it is Caper's ability to inject his personality of being fun, engaging, and humorous through his actions and his audience-tailored language that appeals to everyone in the room (regardless of age).
Appearing on stage and boasting of a whimsical, geeky boy aesthetic, who offers his audiences with a warm, friendly, and inviting atmosphere at his show, Caper is quickly able to demonstrate the beautiful chaos that unfolds on stage. Like a crazy scientist who is still able to articulate words and sentences to explain to his audience about what awaits them at this one-of-a-kind solo show, Caper is accompanied by his trusted assistants (who were designed by Caper over the last 7 years) - Bob (a robot, who becomes a significant character towards the end of the show) and Butter, who has been designed to complete the single and simple task of supplying butter (ingenious!), but ends up finding their true meaning in life towards the end of the show and it is honestly triumphant to be a part of this journey.
Throughout the show, we see Caper make objects vanish in plain sight and make others appear out of thin air. Remote controls, mobile phones, and cards are just some of the props used to leave the audience scratching their heads on what else Caper might have hidden under his sleeve (literally and metaphorically speaking). A fond throwback to his duo-show with Malin Nilsson, Caper's suitcase makes an appearance, where a special character is nestled within and mirrors Caper's movements to a T, much to the adoration and affection showered by adults and kids alike. There is also the classic routine of magic using cards, but Caper adds a complex spin to it by following orders of Bob and showing us how card tricks ought to be done - standing on one foot, using just one hand, and not even looking at the cards to find the one picked by an audience member. Now, that's a skill! Additionally, Caper plays around with puzzles, blocks, bottles, and the concept of cryptography to make us all in the audience wonder how the heck he is able to master them all with his interesting skill of creating illusions before us.
What I've noticed in most magic shows is that there doesn't necessarily seem to be an underlying story governing the actions taking place on stage. That's where Caper has gone the extra mile, by adding a narrative around the future of AI within the human race. Between the cheeky banter by Bob, the mysterious bow tie that keeps disappearing and reappearing around Caper's neck, the slightly terrifying but slightly cute Furby popping up in the most random of places on stage, and the hauntingly beautiful soundscapes from Rick and Morty, Kraftwerk and Bladerunner (which perfectly matches Caper's actions and magic tricks on stage with his robot assistants), he is able to deliver a show that relies on sheer accuracy, great attention to detail, and actions that are timed like clockwork. Whilst providing a visually-inspired commentary around the marvels of technology, he combines magical illusions that you won't be able to look away from and pushes the limits of the unthinkable, thereby making the audience think about the roles of technology and AI in our world over the years to come. Collecting pieces of a puzzle that eventually become a quintessential part of the finale of the show, Caper is able to brilliantly demonstrate how quickly (and sneakily) AI and robots can overpower our race, if they go under the radar long enough.
Charlie Caper has created a fantastic experimental show, which brings two contrasting themes into one cohesive show and blends entertainment with a touch of social commentary on what our future with AI and technology can turn out to be, using appealing elements of unexplained magic and the power of science to highlight how AI and futuristic forms of technology can be a boon or a bane, depending on how their functionality is applied in our society.
While Charlie Caper - Robotricks may have finished for this year's Adelaide Fringe season, we can only hope that he comes back next year with this stellar performance.