Who: BEANS (Ben Bishop, Liam Cobain, Charlie Hamra, and Andre Vafiadis)
What: Sketch comedy, for more info see The Magicians’ Secrete Too: Magic Harder
When: Last show tonight 26 February, sold out but keep an eye out for BEANS next year!
Where: Basement Bar, Hotel Richmond
How much: $18 – $20
BEANS lured me into their 2022 show, a sequel of sorts to 2021’s The Magician’s Secret, with the naughty punny-ness of its title and the promise of light entertainment à la Adelaide Law Revue – I’d heard that the quartet that makes up BEANS are alumni of that esteemed production!
A slight downgrade from last year’s Ayers House venue, BEANS nonetheless owned Hotel Richmond’s Basement Bar and started strong with a slight dig at this situation. The venue actually suits the show perfectly – intimate and not too showy, the room filled with family and friends come to support Bishop, Cobain, Hamra and Vafiadis, who have obviously been doing this sort of thing together for a long while.
Magicians’ Secrete consisted of 14 intriguingly named sketches of varying lengths and complexity. The stage setup was as simple as can be with a black backdrop, and minimal costume and props were used. This show is theatre at its most basic and amateur (in a good way), fuelled by BEANS’ cheeky, charming sense of humour and obvious love for making people giggle.
There were a handful of jokes and sketches that really stood out – for example, one about the particular discomfort of long-haul travel (an experience maybe not so far from sitting in a car for hours to take a certain test), and one about the frustration of trying to buy an ethically made jacket. While a few jokes shone bright as original and edgy, a lot of the material was predictable and safe, relying on broad references to current affairs and the zeitgeist of the early 2020s. The show was saved by the crowning ‘secrete’ of the whole lot, an absurd yet suspenseful improvised piece narrated by Vafiadis and acted out by the others, reminiscent of the brilliance of Whose Line is it Anyway?
I’m not sure The Magicians’ Secrete Too magics harder, but it was certainly an evening. To see some friends who are not too embarrassed to have a good time by performing something they’ve created and produced together is sweet. Check out BEANS when they’re (hopefully) back next year if you miss Law Revue or want to support some mates’ passion for performance that’s as potent as it was during their Year 10 Drama days.
2.5 out of 5 stars