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‘A clever, fast-paced show’ - Review: Champions of Magic

PUBLISHED: 15:53 02 April 2018

Champions of Magic. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Champions of Magic. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

theatre royal

I love magic and illusion, and so the chance to see both at the theatre on a rainy Easter Sunday was a chance I jumped at: and I wasn’t disappointed.

Our party included a teenager, a seven-year-old, my husband and I and all of us loved something different about this clever, fast-paced show which pulls far more than just a rabbit out of its hat.

Beginning with grand illusion double act Richard Young and Sam Strange, the show rattled through a number of routines from the pair and three other talented performers designed to perplex, amaze and entertain – and what better day to see a range of tricks than on April Fool’s Day?

In addition to the double act, there was American close-up magician Kayla Drescher, Mexican illusionist and escapologist Fernando Velasco and Suffolk-born (but a former Norwich resident) Alex McCleer, whose act I liked best, and not just because he hails from the Fine City.

Alex performs incredible cold-reading techniques which are mind-blowing: just how can he tell what a complete stranger is thinking? Or what they WILL be thinking in an hour’s time? (You had to be there…). One thing’s for sure: he’d be a nightmare to throw a surprise party for.

Isaac, seven, loved Fernando best with his straitjacket escape from the jaws of death (an evil looking piece of kit that threatened to mince Fernando if he didn’t get a wriggle on) while my husband loved the classic illusions which saw Young and Strange sawing ladies in half and Fernando levitating a younger member of the audience while Ruby, 19, was also astonished by Alex.

From our seats, the close-up magic on camera was a little difficult to see and understand but the show is so nimble that there’s never long to wait until something new and amazing comes along.

There’s a warmth and humour that runs alongside the magic, light shows, pyrotechnics, circus skills and confetti storms and it makes for a show that really is fun for all the family, even families on gigantic sugar highs after an excess of chocolate eggs. I have just one question: how did Strange manage to shrink Young to half his size? I can’t get it out of my head…

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