Thursday, November 30

Magic Goes Wrong – Empire Theatre

Firstly, I must say how nice it was to be back in a theatre and the Empire is one of my personal favourites. The staff are always so helpful and friendly.  Having watched the first two plays by this creative team, and being happy with a bit of magic, I was very much looking forward to this play. However, unfortunately I felt this fell quite flat in comparison to The Play That Goes Wrong and The Bank Robbery That Goes Wrong.

The set was simple but effective with some fabulous lighting which ‘went wrong’ a few times throughout the evening and this was accompanied with excellent sound effects. There were no actual hiccups with sound and lighting throughout the show which is testament to a cracking technical crew. Well done to all involved with this.

There was only one song in the entire play which was well sung by all. 

The costumes were adequate, some quite glitzy whilst others were a little drab.  The main magician Sophiticato was in the auditorium before the performance, with several others trying to immerse the audience in to the evening, and at this point he was wearing the most beautiful jacket yet when he appeared on stage, he was in a pair of black trousers that didn’t seem to fit him properly and a white shirt and bow tie – he didn’t stand out as he shood have done and would have done, had been wearing the initial jacket.

With such a small cast, there was little for hair and make-up but what was there was well suited to the job.

I felt that the script was very lacking in some places, not well written at all. It didn’t seem to have a storyline to follow – I know we were supposed to be watching a magic show fundraising for ‘disasters in magic charity fundraisers’ with second rate magicians but at some points, it did actually begin to feel like a talent contest with very little talent. There were no belly laughs, as I like to call them and as I frequently succumbed to with the first two plays in the series… I came out of those still laughing, giggling and quoting lines – unfortunately, I came out of this feeling disappointed.

I will not spoil any of the magics tricks as that would not be fair for those who have tickets but what I will say, is that although some were cleverly done and did leave you wondering as to how, there was one that really should not have been there and left me with an easy feeling (doves – that is all I will say). 

I can remark on the talent of one of the characters, who had the audience eating out of his hand, he had an instant rapport with them an knew how to play them. This was The Mind Mangler who I believe (quite some distance back and looked slightly different in the program) was played by Rory Fairbairn.  He got better throughout the performance and excelled when the audience had a joke with him…

Other than that, I’m afraid to say that this play just did not live up to the hype created by its previously seen ‘siblings’…

I do hope that it was just a case of first venue nerves and things settle a little.  One thing extra to add, please note I personally do not feel that this is a production for children. Yes, there is magic – but the magic goes wrong (sometimes HORRIBLY) and there is far too much adult humour in there for children. We had a young boy in front of us who kept turning, open mouthed, to his guardian every time adult humour was used.

Please bear this in ‘MIND’ (you will understand this more when you go) when booking tickets and I would urge the Mischief Theatre Productions teams to sensor their promotional material.

Magic Goes Wrong continues at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool until 11th September and then continues on a UK tour. Please see for remaining tour dates.

Best of luck with the remainder of your tour.

Reviewer: Hazel Bumby

Reviewed: 7th September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★