Within a few minutes of me watching Magic Goes Wrong, at the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday evening, I could feel myself wanting to throw up.
Was the show that bad? No, just the opposite. I had laughed so hard that I’d almost made myself vomit.
With over two more hours to go – how would I fare?
Well, dear reader, I lived to write this review, after staggering out of the theatre with aching sides and my eye make-up decimated through crying with laughter.
If you’ve ever seen this crazy gang before, you will know that the shenanigans begin way before curtain up, and Tuesday evening was no exception. Cast members frantically searched the theatre, wielding huge butterfly nets, looking for a lost white rabbit, while a roving cameraman captured images of theatregoers to be used for the show’s own dastardly purposes later on.
The cause of my aforementioned vomit-inducing reaction was Eugenia (Valerie Cutko), whose singing cracked me up. From that moment on, I was putty in the cast’s hands.
We were all there for the Disasters In Magic Charity Fundraiser – those words being lit up in an arc above the stage.
Sophisticato (Sam Hill), a wannabe magician aiming to step into the shoes of his famous magician father, now deceased, sort of hosted proceedings, aided and abetted by two over-the-top, flouncing, female side-kicks – Spitzmaus (Jocelyn Prah) and Bar (Chloe Tannenbaum).
Meanwhile, Mind Mangler (Rory Fairbairn), tried to convince a very unconvinced audience of his mental prowess – of course, falling miserably most of the time.
Calling for a volunteer from the audience always resulted in the same man, Mickey, aka Brian (Daniel Anthony) appearing on stage – a man who swore he had never met the Mind Mangler before, but who happened to be his flatmate.
Last but not least came The Blade (Kiefer Moriarty), a “hard-nut” for whom pain was a dirty word – but who screamed blue murder as his pain-defying stunts proved to be just the opposite.
These seven misfits were relentless in their pursuit of keeping quite a sizeable audience entertained.
When Sophisticato’s white doves perished, dropping from on high, dead as dodos, we laughed. When Eugenia was “cut in half” with a huge chainsaw, her guts spilling out, we laughed.
And when The Blade “drowned” during a stunt-gone-wrong – we laughed again, even louder.
But these clever tricksters hid a real talent amidst the mayhem, a talent that surfaced when genuine magic was performed – magic that was, actually, quite breathtaking.
Of course, giggle-making antics were never far away. For instance, the Disasters In Magic Charity Fundraiser lights often went out, leaving certain letters glowing – as when the Mind Mangler was mind mangling, the lights read Magic A r s e. Childish, I know, but by this time in the proceedings I was laughing at anything and everything.
I must warn future theatregoers that a huge brown “bear” escaped during one of the tricks, only to attack Derren Brown while he was walking down Whitefriargate in the city.
A video screen showed the whole gory scene and, yes, it was the real hypnotist (the programme reveals he donated his fee to the Great Ormond Street Hospital).
A sparkling stage setting, flashing lights, smoke, loud music, glorious costumes and colourful props all added to the spectacle.
A magical night that, when my nausea subsided, left me wanting more.
Running until Saturday, March 12th, 2022, 7.30pm nightly, with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday, 10th and Saturday, 12th. Tickets from £15. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk
Reviewer: Jackie Foottit
Reviewed: 8th March 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★