Magicians will say all kinds of things to get members of their audience to join them on stage. “It’ll be fun”, “I’ll give you a present”, “Everyone will cheer for you”, “I won’t hurt you”. Dom Chambers has perhaps the most successful approach yet seen at this year’s Fringe, in his Edinburgh debut Fake Wizard. Early in the show he lays out a row of beers and invites whoever gets there first to take one to enjoy while watching the rest of his show, queueing a brief race and at least a few people already predisposed to like him after having only spent a few short minutes in his presence. This sets the tone for the rest of the show—Chambers has own cheeky takes on all the magic he performs.
Throughout the show Chambers manages to maintain his good relationship with the audience. He gets willing volunteers to hand him their valuables, and although magic audiences are trained to expect this to result in some temporary distress before the relief of the reveal he does leave them hanging for a while. Nevertheless the individual in question is willing to trust Chambers repeatedly over the course of the show.
In the reviewed showing Chambers also dealt with an unusual heckler, a baby, who was remarkably well behaved for the majority of the show but did make their complaints heard at the odd interval. Chambers included this youngest of his fans in the act, and while the baby may not have noticed this was surely a relief to its adult guardians, as well as to the whole rest of the audience. It’s easier to relax in to the enjoyment of the show with a magician who seems to have an even temperament.
In Chambers’s display of Fake Wizard-ry the underlying structure of the tricks may feel familiar, but he dresses each one up to suit his playful personality. And for his final effect, whether you love it or it makes you a little uncomfortable, you won’t see any other magician do it this Fringe. Chambers certainly shows the kind of creative thinking that garners a fanbase.
More information on Dom Chambers and his performance dates can be found here.