Crime Scene Illusion

An innovative combination of forensic science and magic 

Crime Scene Illusion

While one may not affiliate Jack the Ripper and card tricks, Tracy Wise has arrived at the Fringe with this exact notion.

With what seems as a popular insurgence of true crime fascination in the public consciousness - case in point, the universally demonic Ted Bundy trending on Twitter - it comes to no astonishment that Crime Scene Illusion has situated itself within the festival sphere. Nonetheless, what makes Wise‘s production peculiarly unique is its competence to evade the pretentious and sullen tropes customary to the genre: rather, the show peerlessly adopts to examine forensic science with eccentric dark humour, dynamically harmonising knowledge and expertise with whimsical antics to convene a performance so unconventionally distinctive.

From their very entrance into the space, the audience is swiftly enveloped in a methodical ambience that correlates tension and novelty. Weaved in vivid, yellow tape, a table in the core of the room instantaneously becomes the pivot to multiple sets of gazes, ‘CRIME SCENE DO NOT ENTER’ abruptly in your vision. Bestrew with props - some on the margin of radiantly camp - we are introduced to a magnetising balance of ingenuity and flamboyance; evidence bags, a plastic gun and confetti blood devising to what will be a spectacle of fact and drama in extravagant proportions.

In eloquent and lucid fashion, the charismatic Wise appraises the formalities and discipline of forensic science with a comprehensible grasp, her discourse brimful with segments that would confound even the most acute true crime fans. Bleeding with professionalism, our host bestows a kaleidoscope of facts anatomising the disparate components of the trade: dissecting handwriting, criminal personality, DNA patterns, vocal resonance and other facets of the vocation, appraising them in a patently digestible manner. Simultaneously, Wise fuses this material with a never-ending abundance of sarcastic banter and quick wit, the walls vibrating with laughter as she seizes the audience in the clutch of her engaging hilarity; proving herself to have a magnificent sense of comedic timing.

But the true essence of the presentation, and what makes Crime Scene Illusion so fantastically ambitious, is its triumphant capacity to correspond with the audience. Wise utilises her enigmatic skill set of magic tricks to elevate group participation to a degree I have yet to observe in any fringe event, with her pursuits failing to be anything but hypnotic and intimate. It’s scarce that our performer doesn’t solicit her guests to join her on stage, and with her transient assistants acting out murder and having their hands coated in fingerprint powder, it’s a premise that so clearly prospered; with the reception comprised of intense fixation, gasps, and tumultuous laughter, I have no apprehension that the spectators left the show still reeling.

If you’re a crime enthusiast seeking a bizarre thrill, this innovative and offbeat display combining theatrics and forensic science is unequivocally for you.

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Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee Local Reporter

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