In the foyer of Northcote Town Hall, the smell of burnt popcorn hung in the air. We headed into Studio 2 to find a very different atmosphere, the dark, yet somehow inviting, lair of Cath Jamison. We could tell we'd be in for an intriguing time by the assortment of props. Many questions entered my mind. ‘What part would the bottle of wine play?' was just one of them.
Cath Jamison appeared suddenly, friendly and engaging, yet ever-so-mysterious. Some mentalists come across as though they are in a world of their own, but Cath made it seem like she was drawing us into her world. However, this didn't make it any easier to spot what was really going on. Indeed, it probably made it harder — especially as Cath moved smoothly and rapidly from one trick to another. She was clearly in her element.
The show is called ‘Conjure Woman', but it's almost entirely theatrical demonstrations of mentalism. I'm sure there is some sleight of hand along the way, but the overall theme is her powers of intuition, connecting with the audience and even connecting the audience with each other. It's very interactive.
Most magic shows have some elements of audience participation, but this show has almost perpetual audience involvement. It seemed like half the audience had been involved in some way by the end, so you'd have to really hide well to avoid her. Not that I'd advise that: Cath's magic is all about connection and fun, so it's part of the experience to be involved.
If you'd like to discover the supernatural powers of Cath Jamison, or you're curious about the roles a bottle of wine and a carrot may have in a magic show, you'll just have to head along to see for yourself.
Craig Macbride wonders whether a mentalist would review a show by holding a blank piece of paper and waiting for the words to appear by themselves. Now, that would be a cool trick!
Cath Jamison: Conjure Woman runs 7-9 July 2017, 6:45pm at the Northcote Town Hall.
The venue is accessible.
Read our guide to the top acts at the Melbourne Magic Festival (3-15 July 2017).