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  • Chris O'Rourke

Magic Goes Wrong

Magic Goes Wrong. Image by Pamela Raith


Mischief Theatre. Crafting their own brand of award winning shows that have become global phenomena. Magic Goes Wrong, younger sibling to the excellent The Play That Goes Wrong, continuing their trend of making a comedy of errors. Co-written with magicians Penn and Teller, Magic Goes Wrong serves up some garden variety magic while leaning heavily into old style gags. Pantomime meeting variety performance in a show that delights more than excites. Serving up a feel good evening safe for all the family, courtesy of some bad magic and some good laughs.

Magic Goes Wrong. Image by Pamela Raith

Like an extended blooper reel, the Disasters in Magic Charity Fundraiser sees everything going wrong. A sort of Comic Relief for magicians, its host with the least, a panicked Sophisticato, aims to raise money for magicians hurt during their career. Judging by the calibre on display, they're going to need it, though their doves and swans might need it more. Looking like David Blaine's idiot cousin, Blade undertakes dangerous tricks that see him more a danger to himself. The Mind Mangler, a man who can taste names, smell jobs, and touch your dead relatives, has fallen foul of the technical crew and his audience plant, Brian. German sisters Spitzmaus and Bar take sibling rivalry to dangerous levels. Meanwhile there's plain bad luck to contend with for not breaking the wand of a recently deceased magician. Such is the thin thread of story stringing it all together so that madness and mayhem can ensue.

Magic Goes Wrong. Image by Pamela Raith

With frenetic pace and rigorous attention to detail, there's never a slack moment in Magic Goes Wrong. The gags may be simple, but they're meticulously and cleverly executed. If the magic is unlikely to impress anyone over the age of seven, leaving you wishing for one really mind blowing trick, it serves as a reminder that Magic Goes Wrong is a comedy with bad magic rather than a magic show with good comedy. Both merging in some terrific Health and Safety jokes. Will Bowen's glorious set, with its millions of moving parts, proves terrifically versatile. In which Daniel Anthony (Brian), Valerie Cutko (Eugenia), Sam Hill (Sophistcato), Keifer Moriarty (Blade), Rory Fairbairn (Mind Mangler) and Jocelyn Prah and Chloe Tannenbaum (Spitzmaus and Bar) shine. The mighty Tannenbaum a scene stealing joy as the Ja Ja loving strong girl with a vicious streak. All deftly directed by Adam Meggido.

Like a travelling circus, magic often attracts misfits. But even misfits need a family. With more spills than thrills, Magic Goes Wrong makes everyone happy and welcome. Serving up theatrical comfort food for all the family. Just make sure you watch out for the bear.

Magic Goes Wrong, by Mischief Theatre and Penn and Teller, a Mischief Theatre Production presented by Kenny Wax Ltd, Stage Presence Ltd and Kevin McCollum, runs at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until May 14.

For more information, visit Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.


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