Before Karma Gets Us – Q Theatre: A Mulled Whine Production, 20-24 February

BEFORE KARMA GETS US is what this is called. But what the hell “it” is I’m really still struggling to say. It was mime, it was magic, it was artifice. It was art. My partner reckons she has never laughed so hard. So if it’s anything at all, it’s a success.

Before Karma Gets UsDescribed as “a raucous performance by three unlikely clowns in a delightful cocktail of old stage magic and sketch comedy,” Before Karma Gets Us is already an audience favourite, returning to Q Theatre for a short season. Created and performed by Ariāna Osborne (Dakota of the White Flats), Liv Parker (Director’s Choice Award Winner – NZ International Comedy Festival 2023) and Tess Sullivan (The King of Taking) it’s … startling.

We have three people doing a show within a show. The bossy one, the gifted but jealous one, and the “the slightly stupid one” over whose body the two compete. Real conjuring done badly well. Almost showing each magic trick. Almost failing. Everything from moustaches to magic is just delightfully off. Sharply sloppy. Mistakes, with a wink. Tricks, with a twist. Guns that might go off or not. Playing to your intelligence (brush up on the year the Queen was crowned) and hard to do well, and yet they do. Very well.

Eric Morecambe could have been handling the curtain. David Copperfield could have been doing the Broken Woman trick. And Bozo the Clown could have been picking those volunteers.

It’s refreshing, exquisite, and highly rehearsed. And there’s even an unexpected use of a unicycle.

Created by the three women themselves, Before Karma Gets Us deserves to be seen and enjoyed. I can’t think of a better show to see after a few drinks.

Real and theatrical magic are used well, as is music – everything from mamboes and Dean Martin to Art Blakey and Salt ‘N Pepa – although as a Benny Goodman fan I was continually frustrated at never getting to the end of his classic ‘Sing, Sing, Sing.’

“It’s the most entertaining thing I’ve seen for a long long time,” said a friend as we left. And you know, she might be right.

Theatre Peter

Info and tickets here.