Late Night Magic - Jermyn Street Theatre
Every Friday and Saturday Night - 11pm
Reviewed by Nicole Keighley
I've seen many magic shows but sometimes tire as I see the same combination of traditional tricks, often in traditional formats, that eventually I conclude that most Magic has become a cliché of itself.
That is what's so great about the new season at Jermyn Street. False Impressions have taken that cliché and turned it inside out to create an unpredictable evening of chaos and bizarreness. They present fictional "seasoned magician" Malcolm Marvelle - Master of Mystery and the lovely Rita, his aggressive and alcoholic assistant. The ultimate in clichéd double acts take us through familiar routines that go wrong and sabotaged tricks usually instigated by the absurdly clad Rita, who even abuses the Magic to feed her alcoholism (many a bottle is produced). These great characters are portrayed by Richard Leigh who plays under-the-thumb Malcolm, doomed to play venues like the "20-seater Twilight Ballrooms in Digby" with his bully wife/assistant Rita hilariously played by Naomi Paxton.
But that's just the beginning. New comedy double act Matt Black and Chris Paris then take us sideways with a combination of comedy and magic which gets a great reception from the audience. So good in fact, the act is regularly interrupted by a peppering of applause. However, the boys are relaxed with this and take it so well in their stride we are left relaxed. Which is not a bad thing considering one of their acts is the infamous bullet catch.
The two acts are not mutually exclusive and it's Chris who suffers the most throughout the evening, fighting off Rita's lustful advances. "Don't tell me about misdirection," she tells a nervous Chris, "I have ever since our honeymoon."
The most unconventional, original, surreal and highly imaginative evening I've had for a while. You'll never see a magic show in the same light again.
© Nicole Keighley, October 2005