Adelaide's own Matt Tarrant won Fringe awards from 2012 to 2017 and topped it off with 'Pick of the Fringe' in 2019. His brand new show is called HAPPY. Mixing magic, mentalism, and storytelling, Matt weaves a story for the audience about what makes us happy.
The show plays at the massive fringe venue 'The Cornucopia' and features two large video screens. These are needed as many of the illusions are card tricks. A cameraman is on hand to display what is happening on the big screen. Illusions like this rely on people being close up and personal. This is obviously made more difficult by the circumstances so I'll give the set-up points for innovation in interesting times.
In a way, the mixed media experience of live performance under lights with video presentation alongside makes for a slick and contemporary presentation. Matt is a seasoned performer who puts everyone feel at ease. His ability to use the show to invite audience participation and the way he focuses on doing things that involve the audience connecting with each other is the most impressive thing about him.
Matt's ability to tell a story about his life and weave it in among the various tricks and illusions is creditable. However, it was only by the end scenes that I truly felt the sensation of happiness and understood what the show was trying to impress upon the audience. Although the pacing is right for a personal story, it was a little too slow for me. I wanted to be blown away by stunning illusions and trickery happening at an exciting pace. Instead, it felt like some of the script was too drawn out and we were being asked to wait too long between big moments.
HAPPY is a kid-friendly show. It would be a big moment for any kid to stand behind the mic on the floor and be part of the magic. Matt's messages about doing what he loves are important ones for children to learn.
HAPPY is a good show and I'm sure there'll be tweaks as the season goes on. The venue is a big space that needs to be filled with more light and sound and the pace could be faster. Still, it's worth seeing this show to support a local who's made it big at the fringe. Use the code HUTT STREET when booking and you'll get five dollars off your ticket and Matt will donate another five dollars to the Hutt Street Centre. That's a good outcome.
Matt Tarrant: HAPPY plays at The Cornucopia at Gluttony in Rymill Park. It's on 19-21, 23-28 Feb, 2-4, 6-14, 16-21 Mar at 6:40pm. Get tickets here.