Davenport’s Christmas Wonder Show

Auden Theatre, Holt

> Auden Theatre, Holt

The stirring sounds of the Norwich bagpipers outside the theatre added to the excited anticipation in the cold night air.

As the first-night audience took its seats and the orchestra launched into action, the occasion felt special.

The centrepiece of this enjoyable family show is local magician Roy Davenport's first-ever re-creation of magic acts performed by his great-grandfather Lewis in the 1920s and '30s.

Doves and scarves are conjured out of top hats and sleeves, balls and thimbles appear and disappear and leap from finger to finger, while Davenport's waistcoat changes colour and pattern before your very eyes. How does he do it?

There are more funny goings-on from comedian Mark Shortland, who does some wacky magic turns with a banana, a plastic gun and cans of fizzy drink.

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The excellent Demon Dancers bring glitzy energy to the evening, while the visually stunning illusion act, Papillon, has snakes leaping out of baskets and a carpet that really flies. Alexander Koplin, German juggler extraordinaire, is a class act with his gravity-defying feats with diabolos and cigar boxes.

Seaside Special favourite Michele Summers is in fine singing form, though some more contemporary musical songs might have had broader appeal.

Compère Paul Henri has a nice line in self-deprecating humour, but is a bit too low-key, as is the finale, which looks good but doesn't quite hit the 'wow' mark.

There's plenty of wonder and dazzle in this magical event though. Let's hope it's the beginning of a Norfolk tradition.

t The show continues until January 1.

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