The moment I entered the cabinet room, upstairs at La Boheme, the soft jazz on playback and the vintage ambience provided the perfect backdrop for this performance in the round. Jden Redden was the understated showman and the card table was his stage.
Fringe-goers shook their heads, gasped, and laughed as he took them through a live tutorial of techniques and methods used by masters of card manipulation. His show, The Expert at the Card Table, was inspired by a book of the same title, published over a century ago by the mysterious S. W. Erdnase. It appeared Redden had studied this work well.
Like students drawn to a captivating lecture, patrons were fascinated. The lesson of the hour was How To Cheat At Cards 101, and Redden was truly the expert at this card table.
The background music transitioned into an eerie tune as the mystery intensified, and the sound of card flourishes and tactful shuffling filled the quiet room. Redden explained the mechanics behind a number of sleight-of-hand tactics. His interactions with the audience were effortless and peppered with humour, causing even the most poker-faced patron to manage a smile.
A number of crowd pleasers left the audience slack-jawed and one woman even smirked, “just stop now” after being overwhelmed by Redden’s skills. Nearing the hour, the finale was particularly impressive as Redden demonstrated his ability to control cards without even touching them.
Prepare to be astonished should you attend a production by the creative team at Fascinating Lies. I highly recommend it. Their second Adelaide Fringe offering, Subconscious, will be showing between 6 – 8 March, and 12 – 18 March at the Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
This was a refined and sophisticated show led by a talented presenter. Redden held his audience as skillfully as a deck of cards.
Reviewed performance: 18 February 2018
Season: Every Wednesday – Sunday from 16 February to 18 March, 2018
Time: 6.00 pm
Venue: La Boheme