Tuesday, May 28

Magic Goes Wrong – Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Magic Goes Wrong is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a magic show that simply goes wrong in every way imaginable. Created by Mischief Theatre famous for their West end hit ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, Magic Goes Wrong follows its predecessors in its slapstick and childish humour which is enough to make most people belly laugh their way through the show however it comes into question if that humour gets old a little too soon.

The show centres around Sophisticato (Sam Hill), a rather terrible magician attempting to put together a charity night in memory of his father and other magicians who have lost their lives in magic related accidents. He honours this by pulling together a strange and equally terrible band of magicians that his father had met in the past. The Mind Mangler (Rory Fairbairn) is a man of more delusion than talent, The Blade (Keifer Moriarty) prides himself on feeling “no pain”, Micky (Daniel Anthony) is the most dim-witted planted audience member to date and Spitzmaus Bar (Jocelyn Prah and Chloe Tannenbaum) are two very aggressive German acrobats with a bear!

The set stays true to the location of the play, keeping a very ‘Charity show/Gala’ aesthetic with a large lit archway that’s often used to mock the performers as well as a descending and ascending screen used to televise some of the performance as though at a real-life magic show. There’s a lot going on visually what with giant cages and saws coming on stage for various scenes, but it keeps it community theatre aesthetic throughout. You really do feel like you’ve attended a dodgy little magic show fundraiser.

There is not a weak performer in sight as all keep to their roles superbly and with fantastic comedic timing. Fairbairn is a standout with vast amounts of audience participation in which he handles effortlessly, and Anthony and Hill are simply adorable in their roles.

The issue with this show does not come down to its actors but simply that there is too much of it to begin with. The play stretches out into two acts, recycling its characters regularly and although it has many fantastic gags it would benefit greatly from shortening down. Slapstick comedy is a lot of fun, but it gets very same-y over time, the show becomes predictable and loses its charm. There are some actual magic tricks hidden within the show that lost their moments to shine as the humour took charge. Without a plot to drive this show it’s simply 2 hours (plus a 20-minute interval) of predictable deaths and failings. The tension of seeing a dangerous magic act is lost when you already know it’s staged to fail.

This show is fantastic if you fancy a good, thoughtless laugh however be prepared that most of the humour resembles that of children’s show just with a lot more adult humour and gore. That being said it is a lot of fun and one can tell the cast have put their hearts and souls into the performance. Whilst some of the content and humour is targeted towards the adults there’s still plenty to enjoy for younger audiences however beware you run the risk of your child coming home with a new catchphrase…I shan’t spoil that though. https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/magic-goes-wrong

Reviewer: Beth Eltringham

Reviewed: 13th April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★