Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Review – Derren Brown: Miracle, Palace Theatre

Tuesday 19 January 2016

51868aOk, very late to the table with Derren Brown: Miracle (it finished on Saturday at The Palace but tours the country until July), but should we even talk about it anyway?

Mr Brown asks us not to reveal anything about the show. So what shall we talk about instead? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Illusionists, Shaftesbury Theatre

Tuesday 17 November 2015

11169299-largeHot on the heels of Impossible during the summer (and with the Palace currently filled by Derren Brown before that Harry Potter thingy occupies the same venue for the foreseeable) it seems the West End can’t really get enough magic.

And usually nor can we. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Impossible, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 25 August 2015

What’s impossible?impossible-launch275a

Andrew saying. “There’s a new play by Caryl Churchill play we must go!” or “If only Pinter had written just one more play before he died” or maybe Phil saying “I really liked that new show, the one with the park benches, balloons and shopping trolleys”.

Getting Andrew and Phil to watch a magic show is much more likely. Magic is the new rock and roll apparently, but we’ve known that for some time. Impossible fills a gap at the Noel Coward theatre until ex Mrs Mission Impossible star (see what we did there?) arrives in Photograph 51. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bullet Catch, National Theatre

Saturday 25 May 2013

Rob-Drummond-Bullet-Catch-World-Tour-webRisk-averse? Us? No, no no. As recently as a few years ago the Whingers went white water rafting (well, brown water rafting, really) and only weeks ago went on Stealth at Thorpe Park (although Andrew did have to exercise a little last minute cajoling to get Phil on board). Obviously they survived to tell the tale, though had Phil not plumped for quad-biking in the dunes over Andrew’s suggestion of skydiving in Namibia it may well have been an entirely different story. Perhaps the Whingers have Phil’s fumbling in the recesses of cautiousness to thank for their longevity.

Generally though the Whingers’ risk-taking is limited to parting with money for untried, untested shows or, ipso facto, anything at the now defunct Cottesloe Theatre. But since its temporary replacement, The Shed, was offering “a unique theatrical experience featuring mind reading, levitation and, if you’re brave enough to stay for it, the most notorious finale in show business.” they just had to be there.

And when Rob Drummond asked for volunteers for his entertainment both waved their hands eagerly – like swots at the back of the class wishing to impress Sir – hoping it might be one of their fingers on the trigger in “a stunt so dangerous Houdini refused to attempt it, the Bullet Catch has claimed the lives of at least 12 people since its conception in 1613.” Oh yes, we both reached for The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Oliver Meech: Live Brain Surgery, New Wimbledon Studio Theatre

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Ah, the Edinburgh Fringe. Where with gay abandon the Whingers sprinkled 4 and 5 glass ratings around as though they were soon to be put on the ration.

London theatre has never quite lived up to Edinburgh since. And in an effort to recreate some of that August euphoria the Whingers have paid a couple of visits to the  New Wimbledon Studio for their ‘Postcards From The Fringe’ season.

Phil drew a long straw Oliver Meech: Live Brain Surgery where “magic meets neuropsychology” apparently. The Whingers make no secret of the fact they love having their brains boggled.

The amiable Oliver Meech (a 28-year old Oxford University Psychology graduate) kicks off by being his own warm-up man (ah the economics of the fringe), inviting his audience to put on hospital identification wrist bands to establish the theme before popping off to change into his surgeons garb.

Now this was a neat move because Phil was was instantly discombobulated and it took him no little time to fathom how to get it on his wrist.

Meech returned to perform a slew of largely themed tricks with lots of audience participation. Almost everyone in the small auditorium was selected at some point. But not Phil. We’re not in Edinburgh any more, Toto.

A few tricks impressively involved the entire audience (though it was a shame that only the victim/patient saw inside the box through which he performed “brain surgery”). There are some Derren-Brownish mind-tricks but the set ups for each of Meech’s bogglements are much faster which means that he rips through an extraordinary number within the hour’s running time. It all proved rather satisfying.

His variation on “memorising” a whole deck of cards proved especially effective. The finale involving the audience’s wristbands was quite astonishing.

When Phil arrived home he realised he was still wearing his wristband and it was some time before he was able to remove it. It is not meant as an insult of Meech’s skills to say that in spite of everything Phil had seen, it was this apparently simplest of tasks that truly baffled him.


Review – Morgan & West: Crime Solving Magicians, Gilded Ballroom Teviot, Edinburgh Fringe

Thursday 18 August 2011

You wait for years for a Whinger to be plucked from an audience to assist a magician in a trick and then, when the occasion comes along, well, you know the rest.

With so much to choose from it’s very handy for the busy festival goer when a show sets out its stall clearly in the title. Morgan & West: Crime Solving Magicians are time-travellers with a Sherlock Holmes twist investigating a somewhat contrived murder storyline. It’s just a couple of posts to hand a washing line of tricks between really, but it’s different, we suppose.

The tricks are likeable enough, although one did go slightly awry when they somehow “predict” what an audience member will write on a blackboard. When invited to chalk up the name of a supermarket she wrote “Lidl” whereas Morgan (or was it West?) had already written “Waitrose” on his, but at least (for the woman in question) it wasn’t the other way around. Still, the two other “predictions” were extremely discombobulating.

But in some situations all the faffing around with the story line has the unintended consequence of giving the audience enough time and insufficient distractions to do some solving of their own. But it’s amiable enough.

Phil, who it seems can’t be kept off a stage in Edinburgh, was invited on stage with three others to provide an alibi for himself. These had previously been written on cards by the magicians and his happened to be “at the theatre”. Spooky when you think that one of the other alibis was “in the shower”. If Phil spent as long in the shower as he does in the theatre Andrew would be adding the wrinkled result to his breakfast muesli to “help himself along” in the mornings.

The linking patter is a bit rough round the edges at times and needs some polishing if you compare it to other magic acts we’ve seen. Still, top marks to them for handing out flyers on the street for their own show in period character, ensuring a full house in their small overheated venue. The Whingers even spotted them in a bar well into the evening (their hour long show is at 3.30pm) still in full costume. They deserve to go far.


Review – Paul Daniels: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday 13 August 2011

Be careful what you wish for.

Phil was beginning to regret his fantasy of revisiting Pete Firman’s magic show in the slight chance that he might see Andrew with his head in a guillotine.

Bad karma indeed. Less than 24 hours later and there was Phil, on his knees in front of Paul Daniels with his head locked in a guillotine for that very same trick. And all this with not only Andrew, but Mark Shenton in the audience too. You really couldn’t make it up.

Phil was on stage for what seemed like half the show having already had his £20 ripped in two by Mr Daniels.

Andrew, feeling distinctly snubbed and green with envy at Phil’s undeserved temporary stardom, refused to buy Phil the post-show drink he deseprately needed to calm down leading to a frantic Sellotaping session by Phil.

This was Paul Daniels: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow in which the veteran magician proves why he’s lasted so long in the business. He’s got the tricks and the patter, although there is perhaps a  little too much chat before he actually gets down to business of magic and a trick involving in a magic box with a couple of ropes seemed somewhat over-elaborate.

But you really do have to see these seasoned old pros live. There is also a live rabbit and – of course – the lovely Debbie McGee.

Of course you are unlikely to be treated to a Whinger under the blade but you can’t have it all can you?

And yes, Phil still has no idea how the trick was done.

Highly recommended.


Rating score 4-5 full-bodied

Would almost certainly have been five had Phil’s head come off.

Review – The Invisible Man, Menier Chocolate Factory

Thursday 18 November 2010

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Review – Derren Brown’s Enigma, Adelphi Theatre

Monday 22 June 2009


The Whingers have been very quiet indeed since last Tuesday. For the last seven days the only sounds you might have heard from them would have been the whirring and clunking of their addled brains as they puzzled and worried and plotted to explain the tricks behind Derren Brown’s quite extraordinary Enigma now showing at the Adelphi Theatre.

It may not surprise you to learn that their combined intellectual and analytical efforts has resulted in nothing. Nada. Not a sausage. We are as mystified today as we were when we emerged blinking into The Strand a week ago. It is, indeed, an enigma. Read the rest of this entry »