Review: Thomas Day: Extra SentiMENTAL @ Adelaide Fringe 2024

Thomas Day
Kara is a classically-trained freelance cellist become arts critic. She loves chatting with artists from all walks of life, watching shows and performing in them, and weaving words and experiences into stories for scenestr. She and her partner teach a bunch of inspired young kids from their Adelaide home studio and she is ‘mumma’ to some special little girls.

In a small library tucked away in the setting of Adelaide’s charming historic mansion, Ayers House, dating back to 1855, Adelaide-based magician and mentalist, Thomas Day, presents a small, intimate show touching on the more sentimental moments of his life which have shaped him into who he is with that extra element in the inner-workings of his audience.

It was like being led through a door in Diagon Alley. A wall full of books which could be compared to Ollivander’s, and a singular table set up with cards. A very flustered Thomas emerged from behind the distinctive red velvet curtain to greet his audience, channeling all of that nervous energy into the magic we were about to witness. From moment one, I knew this Adelaide up-and-coming artist had something very special.

The theme for this one was love. What does it mean love someone? To give your heart away. I don’t think it was any coincidence I was picked on the entire show, but I’m glad I was because it was shown to me first-hand just how talented this man is. Before the concept of the show was revealed, I pulled out the ‘love’ card myself from a pile of emotion oracle cards he handed me, accidentally flipping it around so he could see it. Fair game, he asked me to put it back and pick out another one, shuffling it around so he couldn’t see and here’s me thinking I was fooling him by re-drawing the same card. Turns out, he was the joker in this card trick. Unpredictability, wit, chaos and intelligence.

Without giving too much away, we watched a series of illusions around this topic as the prestidigitator explored marriage, and two became one, things were transformed in magic sacks and the audience members were in tears (of laughter) over spilt milk. The dad jokes to break up the curious energy of the room were a bit lame but I’ll let him get away with that one – when are they not?

The thing about intimate audiences is there’s no where to hide and after having drawn that card for the second time, being asked to think about that exact memory which brought me there, Thomas made a strong connection to my two girls. It was in this moment my initial inkling of the hint of clairvoyance was more than clarified, flipping the card around and sharing some of his own personal stories with feeling love but not being able to obtain it just yet, showing us after a show of thinking he’s super-human, that he’s just like everyone else.

It is important to remember during the hustle and bustle of the busiest time of the year in our ‘festival’ state, that it’s worth giving the smaller shows scattered around the place a go. This year, I wanted to do one in what I’d refer to as 'the realm of the unknown'. One which isn’t performed in either of the busy gardens, hasn’t yet won a bundle of trophies to stick in the cabinet, doesn’t have reviews yet and features someone from our wonderful city, getting out there and doing the thing they dream of, and I was pleasantly surprised. What a gift.

It is worth taking a chance on local artists – our city has so much talent and plenty of yet-to-be discovered talent.

At the start of the show, when asked to pick a card, I chose The Queen Of Hearts which Thomas later drew out of the deck. I will say, I don’t think that first card was intended for me, but for Thomas instead. In tarot, the queen represents reaching your potential and destiny in the area of life in that tarot suite. For this one, it was the heart. The queen, unlike the king, is more interested in expressing their power creatively, rather than authoritatively. Yes, this was a regular old card deck, but with that card in the palm of his hand, Thomas deserves to be in the big tents, performing with the very best magicians, and I have so much faith it will happen for him, sooner rather than later.

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