Review: Bullet Catch
Review NZ Festival events for Stuff
Bullet Catch is a thought-provoking and utterly profound modern day performance that ingeniously develops an exhausting tension that culminates towards one final act that involves Rob Drummond convincing a member of his audience to shoot him with a loaded gun.
In this truly remarkable piece of theatre, Drummond retraces and mesmerises us with the history behind the sleight of hand illusion which is the "Bullet Catch". It is a routine, devised in 1613, that involves the magician being shot at with a loaded gun by a member of the audience.
To give further context, the stunt has allegedly claimed the lives of 12 individuals since its conception, and was regarded famously by one Houdini as a trick that was far too dangerous to perform.
Through imaginative storytelling Drummond takes on the role of a gifted illusionist William Wonder, articulating to the audience the real life narrative of his unfortunate demise. We are informed that Wonder hands a loaded gun to a randomly selected audience member, Garth, who, after shooting the illusionist down, is found to be the man in question as an investigation of the events unfolds.
Drummond chooses his volunteer, "Garth", through extensive screening exercises at the beginning of the show. The premise and the masterful development of the intimate relationship between Drummond and his volunteer provide the core structure of the performance.
The composed, yet openly vulnerable, Drummond looks to craft a relationship that aims to strengthen the bond with his assistant by allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings with the audience.
"This isn't magic, it's a conversation."
The vital relationship between Drummond and his volunteer, and the intimate connection made with the audience is brilliantly manipulated. The emotional tension deduced throughout the performance becomes too much for some audience members to handle as the final showdown is anticipated.
Bullet Catch is an outstanding piece of art that not only celebrates magic by deriving energy from traditional magic shows, but it also provides an unexpected warmth in its ability to give the audience a rare opportunity to sincerely evaluate the choices they make as individuals.
A lesson in the history of the Bullet Catch routine and an absorbing assessment of human behaviour, complemented with enough traditional magic to keep you satisfied provides for a unique and moving theatre experience.
You will be left alone to reflect on your personal thoughts as you recover from what is being described as "the most notorious finale in show business".
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