MAGIC AND MAYHEM: from left, comedian and magician, Stephen Cloete, and illusionist, Ricky Gray, with their assistant, Samantha Kemp (centre) in Abra Viagra.

Abra Viagra

DIRECTOR: Ricki Gray and Stephen Cloete

CAST: Ricki Gray, Stephen Cloete and Samantha Kemp

VENUE: The Rhumbelow Theatre, Durban

UNTIL: Sunday

RATING: ****


WE’RE all familiar with the old saying “laughter is the best medicine” and the production Abra Viagra is testament to that statement. By the time this mind-blowing, side-splitting show is done with you, you will be left with aching jaws from all the fun and laughter.

Featuring illusionist Ricki Gray and comedy magician Stephen Cloete, these international entertainers sure know how to give the crowd their money’s worth as they treat them to astonishing illusions, stand-up comedy, magic tricks and plenty of audience participation.

Abra Viagra comprises two acts – Cloete’s stand-up comedy and a bit of magic and Gray has the illusion tricks under control.

Cloete is well spoken, charismatic and a natural on stage. He interacts with the audience throughout the show, sharing stories and reminiscing about his performances on several cruise ships.

He is probably the reason for the fits of giggles echoing from the audience.

On the night I attended, he had everyone in stitches.

In particular, a group of people at a table were laughing so hard, it appeared they might roll off their chairs from all the amusement. Getting people to laugh and enjoy a joke that much takes skill. Big ups to Cloete.

Then there’s Briton Gray who was dressed in sequins and shiny attire for his performances.

He is a remarkable illusionist. If you didn’t believe in magic before the show, you might change your mind after watching Gray. He is a true professional.

Without giving away too much, scenes that stood out include his magic trick of pulling a duck out of an empty bag and then making the duck vanish in front of your very eyes. That one still has me pondering where exactly the bird went.

He also levitates a glass of champagne while pouring the drink and beheads his assistant, Samantha Kemp, after which her head reappears. There were many oohs and aahs throughout his magic performances.

Audience participation is a key element to Abra Viagra which makes things interesting as several members of the audience are randomly chosen by the entertainers to join them on stage and take part in magic acts.

Cloete and Gray playfully pick on the individuals on stage and the audience love it as they roar with laughter and applause. It is highly interactive as everyone gets to share in the fun and magic.

Adding a bit of eye-candy to the show is their assistant, Kemp, who is used in many of the magic tricks. She is dressed in flashy, provocative showgirl clothing.

From the costumes and special effects to the audience participation and comedy and magic tricks, Abra Viagra is a hit and it’s no surprise since the duo have entertained theatre goers, far and wide, including Las Vegas.

It is extremely enjoyable and interactive, from the opening moment until the end.

A production of an international standard and one not to be missed.


• Abra Viagra stages at The Rhumbelow Theatre in Durban until Sunday. Tickets are R120, R100 pensioners and tables of eight or more. Bring a picnic basket. Booking is essential at Computicket or Roland at 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636.