A family magic show accessible for even the youngest of children, Edward Hilsum: Genie is a charming magical experience.
The show revolves around the simple concept of Hilsum granting the wishes of members of his audience. Upon walking in, people are presented with little cards that ask what it is they truly love and want. These are then collected by Hilsum, and used to inspire the magic he creates. It’s not a complex concept, but due to the young age of most of the audience, this is a positive.
However, one aspect in which the age of the audience might not have been considered is in the staging. It is understandable that many Fringe venues are notoriously difficult spaces to work with, in terms of tech and sight-lines. But family magic shows by nature have a large mix of adults and children. Hilsum should make sure that the majority of his tricks are done at enough of a height that anyone could appreciate what is happening. Leaving the show I overheard a mother ask her son if he liked it, and the boy responded “I think so, but I couldn’t see it.” This is a shame particularly because Hilsum’s skill at sleight of hand is fantastic, and he creates absolutely beautiful illusions.
For some children, the staging isn’t a problem, though, as Hilsum expertly integrates a handful of children into his show. He makes the roles of audience participation relaxed enough that none of the children are scared of being involved. And he definitely has grasped that the best way to win a kid’s heart is to give them something. It isn’t just children that are invited to participate either: wishes are granted for people of all ages.