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Review: Could It Be Magic?, Wilton’s Music Hall

The talented comedian and magician Paul Aitchison is Reg Kettle, founder and president of the Magic Ring Magical Society. He welcomes you to the finale of the Best Magician competition, running through the list of previous winners – who include such notable prestidigitators as Magic Hans (er, allegations have been made). Kettle is himself a contender in the competition, and hopes to win again this year. With the aid of an audience member he performs a number of tricks, most of which appear to fail, before introducing the other three contenders. All of them are played by Paul Aitchison,…

Summary

Rating

Good

Entertaining, lightweight mix of comedy and magic

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The talented comedian and magician Paul Aitchison is Reg Kettle, founder and president of the Magic Ring Magical Society. He welcomes you to the finale of the Best Magician competition, running through the list of previous winners – who include such notable prestidigitators as Magic Hans (er, allegations have been made).

Kettle is himself a contender in the competition, and hopes to win again this year. With the aid of an audience member he performs a number of tricks, most of which appear to fail, before introducing the other three contenders. All of them are played by Paul Aitchison, whose off-stage costume changes are masked by fun video interludes.

There’s Zantos Thorne, otherwise known as the Brain Fondler of Wisconsin, a tattooed, hiphop mind reader whose “pronouns are he, him, daddy”. The fact that he randomly chooses the same ‘volunteer’ for his act is a neat nod to the conceit of his being a different person from Kettle.

Then there’s the bouffant-haired Klause Fantastische, “Germany’s No 1 Illusionist in his price range”. Think Siegfried without Roy, with a dash of David Copperfield. He’s performing without his menagerie – “Do you know how hard it is to get a lateral flow test from a tiger?” and the highlight of his act is the sausage-based Wurst Case Scenario.

The final act is lovey dovey duo Colin & Carol, introduced by the theme tune from their 1970s TV series, containing the memorable line “the strongest magic is their love.” Except Carol has failed to show up, and it’s clear that, despite his protests to the contrary, she has finally ditched Colin. Where the previous three acts were remorselessly played for laughs, there’s a real pathos to Colin’s denial and struggle to cope with the truth.

Perhaps better suited to the Edinburgh Fringe than a formal theatre, Could It Be Magic? is a hugely entertaining mix of magic and comedy, with some tricks that will leave you genuinely puzzled. It’s not great drama, but then it doesn’t set out to be; this is lightweight entertainment, guaranteed to make you laugh.

Produced by: James Seabright
Directed by: Owen Lewis
Lighting by: Robbie Butler
Sound by: James Nicholson
Projections by: Bruno Collins

Could It Be Magic plays at Wilton#’s Music Hall until 5 February. Further informatoin and booking via the below link.

About Steve Caplin

Steve is a freelance artist and writer, specialising in Photoshop, who builds unlikely furniture in his spare time. He plays the piano reasonably well, the accordion moderately and the guitar badly. Steve does, of course, love the theatre. The worst play he ever saw starred Charlton Heston and his wife, who have both always wanted to play the London stage. Neither had any experience of learning lines. This was almost as scarring an experience as seeing Ron Moody performing a musical Sherlock Holmes. Steve has no acting ambitions whatsoever.
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