Ava Beaux makes a name for herself as a rare female magician, or “magish”, as she prefers to be called. For reference for those who may be unfamiliar with the gender balance of magishes, out of a total of over fifty magic show listings in this year’s Fringe just two feature a female magish. Percentage-wise this year is sadly probably one of the better ones, post-pandemic overall numbers are down and regardless of the total number of shows usually only two or three feature women as magishes. If memory serves Ava Beaux herself was the only female magish at last year’s Fringe, participating virtually over youtube. That being said, while she mentions this in Which Witch, this is not the point of the show nor why it is worth watching.
Which Witch creates two characters out of the one performer, Ava and Beaux, and features their struggle for control. Ava is the one who is recognizable as a conventional magish, while Beaux likes to wear extravagant hats and has trouble communicating with the default world. In both personas Ava/Beaux performs excellent magic. Appropriately, Beaux has a weirder take on tricks, which was wonderful to see—although it is perhaps worth noting that ethical vegans may prefer not to be Beaux’s audience participant. Ava/Beaux relies primarily on sleight of hand, but it was Ava’s mind reading trick that got the biggest reaction on the evening of this review.
Ava and Beaux each charm the audience in their own way. Ava has her hilarious stream of stories that keep the audience laughing while marveling at her tricks, while Beaux’s unfettered delight at finding herself in the audience’s presence immediately wins us over, in spite of the warnings. Neither one makes her audience participants feel unsafe in her presence; while Beaux is less predictable any potential for destruction is focused on her own props.
The finale of the show is visually gorgeous, it is worth sitting through the show even if you hate magic for the chance to see the last few minutes. The theme of finding the power to take control of your own healing from trauma caused by others is unexpectedly heartfelt, and appropriately timed for a world where both global events and political elites cause suffering that is often impossible for any ordinary individual to stop—but we can take control of our narrative.
Ava Beaux’s longer term fans may have a different appreciation for Which Witch. She has always been a storyteller, but here we see her put down literary inspiration and step in to her own story. It has been a privilege to watch her grow in to her talents and hone her skills. Those finding Ava Beaux for the first time this year may have to settle for a perfect, stunning magic show, but surely everyone who sees her will be excited to see what she does next.
More information on Ava Beaux and her performance dates can be found here.