REVIEW: The Best is Yet to Come: A Queer Magic Show (Auckland Pride)

Review by Ben Shand-Clennell

The Best is Yet to Come: A Queer Magic Show is part autobiographical story, and part magic showcase, deeply invested in uplifting the rainbow community.

Jeremy Rolston opens his show with a very clear setting of boundaries. Rolston goes to great lengths to ensure the audience are comfortable – asking for names and pronouns, assuaging doubts about audience participation, outlining how best to enjoy the show, and confirming that the stage is a safe space for all. He also explains that this is a vulnerable position for him to be in, and gives a general run-down of what he expects of the audience. Rolston’s succinct and articulate opening sets the scene for a meticulous and thoroughly engaging show. 

Rolston’s deft ability to switch from the sincere and heart-breaking, to the humorous and heart-warming, is spectacular. The biographical aspects are well-devised, exploring the highs and lows of the performer’s journey to coming out. Intensely sweet in parts, and gut-wrenching in others, the co-directors – Jeremy Rolston and Kade Nightingale – effectively transposed the subject matter onstage in an organic way. Rolston also increases the scope from personal experience to the wider state of the world and its treatment of the LQBTQIA+ community, highlighting the problems that are still faced. 

The personal story is punctuated with thematically relevant mentalism and magic. These acts are truly spectacular. Were it only a magic show, it would still be worth going to. The set and props that the performer works with are minimal, but utilised well. Q Theatre’s Vault is not a tall space, and not one that lends itself to the sort of spectacle that we associate with magic. However, Rolston works within the limitations of the space, and delivers some truly transcendental feats. There is also the use of a projector, to add context to things briefly alluded to, and to show items not able to be transported into the theatre.

The heart of this show is in its firm stance on helping those in the rainbow community. Rolston dedicates a large amount of time and energy into concrete ways in which to improve the lives of those within the rainbow community. In lieu of a programme, patrons are given a two-sided sheet of paper that lists queer organisations across Aotearoa, short descriptions of what they do, and multiple ways that they can be contacted. Rolston also lists attainable ways in which cis-gendered, heterosexual audience members can be effective allies to all.

There is a lot to be impressed by in the show. The creatives have done a remarkable job of condensing such a nebulous subject matter down, and making an autobiographical magic show cohesive. The true beauty of the show is in its vehement wish to help those in need. It shows the problems and offers solutions. The last word goes to the team behind The Best is Yet to Come: A Queer Magic Show, ‘No matter your identity or background, there’s something for everyone to learn from this show.’

The Best is Yet to Come: A Queer Magic Show plays Vault, Q Theatre, from Thursday, 9th February to Saturday, 11th February, 2023 as part of Auckland Pride.

This review is part of the Auckland Pride Review Project – a collaborative project between four local publications (The Pantograph PunchBad Apple GayRat World and Theatre Scenes) to provide more critical discourse around queer theatre and performance work. We will be reviewing a range of shows throughout the month of Pride – so keep a look out and go support our local queer performers!

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