Two charming gentlemen, Paul Novak and Johnny B Good, perform a delightful show as The Grumpy Magicians for the first week of the Fringe. In Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, The Grumpy Magicians are upfront about their goal, to con their audience, who, they determine early on, are all suckers. They do, at the very least, successfully steal a place in their audience members’ hearts.
The Grumpy Magicians rely on classic magic tricks to fool the audience. They even produce a rabbit in a hat—luckily a toy rabbit, to avoid any implications of animal abuse. A highlight includes a blender, a less common prop at magic shows. Some of their tricks do lack deftness, and there are moments when the audience sees a prop before they should, or the face of a card a little bit too early. However, the majority of the tricks are done with suitable skill to conceal the deception.
To be fair, any inconsistencies in The Grumpy Magicians’ magic hardly matters, as their appeal is in their charm and rapport, both with each other and with their audience. Despite the grumpiness, they have a solid partnership. They work smoothly together and appear dependably supportive of each other. This is especially nice to see in a magic show, as magicians often perform solo and can look very lonely up on stage by themselves.
Audience participants likewise feel safe in the hands of The Grumpy Magicians. The Magicians take advantage of their age to take a grandfatherly attitude toward their participants, which they manage to do without straying into being too patronizing.
While The Grumpy Magicians might not be the most expert magicians at the Fringe, their act is lovely. They adapt well to performing appropriately for any children in the audience, making them a great family option. The Grumpy Magicians make for a solidly entertaining hour as both magicians and entertainers in general.