British magician Ben Hart is here for his second Fringe, performing The Nutshell in the Garden of Unearthly Delights through to March 17. It’s not your average magic show, taking the audience into some philosophical and occasionally dark territory.

Adelaide holds a special place for Hart, who began plotting The Nutshell while taking walks during his 2018 Fringe season.

“I wrote it when I was in Adelaide last year. I was walking around the Botanical Gardens, I used to do that every day with a notebook – it’s quite a nice, tranquil space in the madness of the Fringe. I’d heard about this woman who had done this weird thing in the 1940s and it inspired me. Suddenly I had an idea for the ending of the show. And it all slotted together as a show that’s about scale and the impact of small things on our lives and infinite fractal universes.

“While that all sounds like big talk, it all knits together in the show. At the start the audience doesn’t quite know where it’s going to go, but at the end it all fits together.”

So what does Hart look for in a magic trick?

“I look for a plot twist. I want to find out where is going to be the moment where the story of the trick can turn. It’s like a good film, I want a film with a good plot twist, I want to read a story that takes me somewhere I wasn’t expecting. A lot of magic tricks are kind of inevitable. They begin and someone borrows a watch, it disappears and you know it’s going to reappear somewhere impossible – to me that’s less interesting than a story where you pull the rug out from people, when they’re least expecting it.”

You can check out some of Ben Hart’s magic in the video below, while details for The Nutshell can be found here.


By Matthew Trainor