Friday, December 3

Magic Goes Wrong – Sheffield Lyceum

What a hilarious evening the audience at the Sheffield Lyceum had, as Mischief Theatre presented ‘Magic Goes Wrong’. Magical mayhem with two hours of silliness and laugh-out-loud moments, Co-writers Henry Lewis, Jonathon Sayer and Henry Shields collaborated with the legendary Penn and Teller to offer the next instalment of the … Goes Wrong series. A perfect vehicle, to be honest, as who doesn’t watch a Magic show with a little bit of them, hoping something does indeed go wrong! Or, we gasp at what appears to go wrong does actually redeem itself in gloriously spectacular fashion.  The set resembled a very glitzy, sparkly version of The Royal Variety Show/ Live at the London Palladium mixed with the most elaborate gameshow you could imagine.  Magic Goes Wrong is not quite the heavily slapstick comedy of the previous offerings, instead we see ladies sawn in half, mind reading, underwater escapology, women fired from canons, sleight of hand and card tricks galore. The show is clever in its concept with spectacular sketches around the world of Magic, both onstage and behind the scenes. Director Adam Meggido and Ali James who is director for the intricate movement, go a long way in making this production the spectacle it is. 

The tentatively spun story is set within a TV Style charity event and shadows the footsteps of the son of a former Magician. Mickey (Daniel Anthony) inherits his late father’s repertoire and his wand and during the evening we meet Eugenie (Valerie Cutko) and The Blade played by Kiefer Moriarty. All the Magic acts are compered by the conatantly worried Sophisticato (Sam Hill).  Whilst, hapless ‘The blade’ gets impaled on knives and caught in mousetraps in the most inappropriate places, the Magician’s assistants are glamorously parodied by Jocelyn Prah as Spitzmaus and Chloe Tannenbaum as Bar. But it is Rory Fairbairn as the Mind Mangler that steals the show, with side-splitting audience participation and some cleverly scripted lines. No spoilers here! But watch out for the Egyptian Finale with its genuine magic, Yes, the director does make sure we have plenty to wonder at. However, the production does fall short of its predecessors in the series mainly due to its lack of narrative. 

All in all, a great family fun show and one we very much need, to invite families back to the theatre after the oh-too-long period of darkness. Chaos and drama rule supreme on the stage and giggles to guffaws rule in the auditorium. One of the funniest things I have seen in a long time! Well worth the ticket price to lose yourself for the evening, but I warn you, your sides may hurt afterwards. Magic Goes Wrong continues to go wrong at the Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 16th October.

Reviewer Tracey Bell

Reviewed: 12th October 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★