Chris Cook is an unexpected gem of Edinburgh Fringe magicians, and an absolute master of his stage. His show this year, Truth or Dare, is a testament to the captivating nature of skillful and surprising magic.
In accordance with its name, Truth or Dare is a game with the audience. In such a game, of course, the magician will always be winning. But Cook is a consummate professional and charmer of his spectators. Even if he was always going to fool us, we’re ecstatic for it to happen. The show is completely interactive, involving someone in every trick that is done. You would think this runs the risk of relying on a terrible participant, but Cook has no such troubles. His interactions with the crowd is his greatest strength amidst a show of only strengths. Striding around the stage confidently and very rapidly, Cook sweeps you up in his enthusiasm and devilish wit, but at the same time remains respectful of how awkward people can feel when brought on stage. He takes particular care to attend to that concern and makes sure that everyone is unembarrassed and comfortable at all times no matter what trick they are participating in.
Keeping pace with Cook’s rapid fire wit is his magic. He charges from one astonishing trick to the next, never giving a moment for the delighted bafflement to fade away before he’s brought it back again. Whether he’s reading someone’s mind or making magic happen in their very hands, Cook astounds both the immediate participant and everyone watching. The finale of Truth or Dare is a particular triumph. Although definitively different than the rest of the tricks that precede it, Cook still somehow weaves the theory into the show so that it stands out in a way that compliments instead of distracts.
Truth or Dare takes the sheer quality, polished nature, and powerful amazement of any magic show and puts it in a free show. If you want to see excellent magic performed, this show is the one to catch before the Fringe is over.