(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 7th July 2019).
For those who don’t know, the monkey has been fascinated by magic since
childhood. Children’s party entertainers, Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels (such a
thrill to learn he read the site, and even interacted on occasion), and of
course Penn and Teller to name just a few. Thus the bar is set exceptionally
high, and woe betide any magician who doesn’t reach it.
This crew do, with a
well-presented over-view of practically every variety of magic available. Billed
by trade as much as name, each brings something different to the show and the
blend is very satisfying.
“The Trickster” Paul Dabek proves himself an
hilarious entertainer, with one of the best pop-up toasters on the planet and
sharp surgical PR skills – practised on a surgeon.
“The Unforgettable” Enzo Weyne is mostly found sitting nonchalantly at the
side of the stage sipping tea and scoffing popcorn – you’ll wonder how for
“The Manipulator” Yu Ho-Jin is worth the ticket price alone. The other
magicians probably find excuses to stand in the wings to watch him at every
performance, praying that they can learn something from his truly dazzling card
manipulation techniques. Adults and children totally spellbound.
“The Mentalist” should be confined by law to a Faraday Cage for life. Your
everyday dorky bloke can read your mind – predict what the ladies choose to wear
and go far further by knowing addresses and car registrations better than they
do. Sure, you can hazard pretty accurate guesses about he does it all... but you
really wouldn’t feel comfortable even if you were right... I mean, the monkey
knows for a fact he won’t ever read this opinion – simply because he doesn’t
have to, he already knows... scary...
There’s genuine beauty in “The Futurist”
Adam Trent’s digital work, even more so when you see the bigger picture (as he
leaps between them) and you realise how skilfully he incorporates techniques old
and new into his work.
For those who saw “Britain’s Got Talent” this year,
“The Daredevil” Jonathan Goodwin performs (or almost doesn’t, when someone
forgot to remove a safety catch) the “Escape from Gravel” that wowed TV
audiences. As he rises from the grit, we can only be thankful the requisition
order didn’t auto-correct the spelling for what he was buried in. His opening
routine, by the way, is equally brilliant and shows he can handle audience
interaction with aplomb.
Finally, they don’t call James More “the Showman” for
nothing, time spent with him is time watching timing like few others, even if he
seems to be beside himself on occasion.
Worthy of mention too are the team’s
assistants, Sarah Sevill, Ashley Munn, Denzil Sampson and Danielle Everdell.
Always ready to be stuffed into boxes, grab a rope, help a bemused victim from
the stage, well done all.
There are a few gripes. Paul Dabek strikes a dud
note at the start choosing entirely the wrong youngster to bring onto the stage
for the “warm up” act. If you get your kicks from a confused 6 year-old girl
being told to fight a 10 year-old boy, this is for you, and no quantity of
well-written comments can hide the child’s discomfort. A way out is needed,
should he make the error again, as the routine would be hilarious with the right
(older) kids on board.
Other faults are the camera man (not one of the magic
team) sometimes getting in the way of the audience view and the fact that every
routine has been seen on television at some point (be aware of that – but also
know that every one of them is better “live”). Finally a shadow puppet “Circle
Of Life” demonstration is used to cover a clean-up. There is space at the front
of the stage for a full card routine at the very least, and for £80 the monkey
did feel entitled to actual magic for the entire show.
Still, there’s more
than enough to delight and this is one worth seeing, superior illusionists indeed.