Review: Nefarious by Turning Tricks

Murderous Magic and Mysterious Mayhem!


The masters of mind power and persecutioners of the paranormal, Pete Booth and Sean Mergard of Turning Tricks returned to the Brisbane Powerhouse this week as part of the Wonderland Festival. 

The sixty minute show was performed in the ultra cosy Turbine theatre, which was set out with small tables surrounding the stage to enhance the magic club experience. Pete, who is primarily a magician, and Sean, a mentalist, bamboozle the audience with a series of mind-power and sleight of hand tricks. The theme is mysterious and spooky, culminating in conjuring up from the astral plane the most notorious killer ever, Jack the Ripper!

A Victorian styled film started the show highlighting the case of Walter Thomas Porriott;(known to the police as Andrew John Gibson,) who was a serious suspect for Jack the Ripper. He had been living in London in 1888, when the famous gruesome murders of five prostitutes in Whitechapel were committed. He had sailed to Australia after the murders stopped, further fuelling suspicion. He was buried in 1952 in Toowong cemetery, although the tombstone here in Toowong cemetery does not even mention his name. Instead it reads: "Bessie" died 25th June 1957 and “her husband!” More mysteriously there is an image on the headstone of a caped-man raising a dagger. Disturbingly, as a finale, it was his ghost that Pete and Sean attempt to contact using a purpose-built spirit cabinet.

Throughout the show, audience participants were selected randomly by the passing and catching of a toy rabbit, an essential tool for any magician. The first trick resulted in an excited audience member winning $20, when choosing between two envelopes. He was very pleased until he saw the other envelope had contained $200! Next, an audience member acted as a psychic medium, citing details from a troubled letter from one of Jack the Ripper’s victims before having seen it. It surprised the audience and the female participant, as the letter had been sealed in view on the stage the whole time. The tricks and sleight of hand continued to baffle the audience as they were fast-paced and well executed with accompanying humorous dialogue to entertain and delight.

A spooky musical accompaniment was provided by Ken McClean, creating a salubrious and sometimes sinister atmosphere with an air of mystery. The Technical Director was Kevin Brew and the combination of film media, music and the two magicians led to a mysterious, but very enjoyable magic show with a difference.

The magical climax conjured up the spirit of the Aussie Jack the Ripper suspect, Walter Porriott, through the use of the spirit cabinet. Bells were rung and even flung across the stage as Walter’s ghost apparently manifested behind velvet black curtains. 

Nefarious, the second show by Turning Tricks, has magic and illusions with a paranormal twist. As the magician and the mentalist help manifest a malingering murderer’s spirit to cause mayhem with magic! 

By Dr Gemma Regan

Nefarious by Turning Tricks

Turbine Studio Brisbane Powerhouse

Nov. 23rd- 26th, 2017