Champions of Magic is the summer blockbuster of magic shows, or at least aims to be- it is the Avengers of magicians. It is not your average, every day magic show (if there is such a thing), where you have to commit yourself to embracing one style, one skillset of magic. Instead, you are given four different magic shows in one, meshed together in an unforgettable night of wonderment.
The first of the magicians to kick off the show was a young magician with an old-school style, Edward Hilsum, conjuring doves with impressive flair. The magicians cycled their acts through the night, so we saw him again a few times over the course of the show, but one of the particularly impressive aspects of two of Hilsum’s three sets was his ability to remain captivating with a wordless act. In fact, his talent at maintaining attention meant that I did not even realize he hadn’t said a word until several minutes into the show!
Following Hilsum’s fist set was that of Alex McAleer, the mind-reader. I’ve reviewed McAleer here before, from his Edinburgh Fringe show. Here he had a much larger stage, and one he managed dominate impressively. Mind reading more than any other form of magic relies on audience participation and response, and McAleer undeniably had the personability and flair to make the crowd comfortable and increasingly eager to interact. Over his sets he wowed the audience with his skill at seemingly picking thoughts and images straight out of their minds, knowing everything from a card they were thinking of to unexpected personal details.
Fay Presto took the stage next, taking what initially seemed like it would be the most standard magic staple into a completely different, funny direction. Doing classic magic tricks can verge into boring the audience, I have learned, but she turned this potential around into something unexpected, a delightful turn of magic refusing to take itself too seriously. Presto particularly excelled when including children in her acts, her encouragement making them visibly increasingly confident with being onstage and involved.
The final part of this show was done by the magician duo Young & Strange. Their act coming last was a commendable choice, as they provided a burst of silly, snarky energy. While bordering on ridiculousness, the dedication of the two in playing off each other absolutely worked. Young & Strange were the epitome of a big finish, pulling out all the stops with huge intimidating mechanics, bright lights, a sweet story, and a glamorous assistant.
Champions of Magic truly was a great show of astonishing talent. If any criticism can be found, it is not in their abilities, but in the cohesion of the overall show. The range of different specialties was a positive, however, the acts suffered in that it seemed not much effort had been put into segues. It made the show more fragmented that it needed to be, and displaced the audience’s energy. There was so much good to outweigh this problem, however, and Champions of Magic was a astounding, delightful show, all the magicians astonishing the audience in their own unique ways.
Champions of Magic will be continuing their tour with shows through the UK, venues and dates can be found here.