A charming San Franciscan, Paul Nathan makes clear to his audience from the beginning that his Magic Hour isn’t really a magic show, it’s just us hanging out with him and watching him perform some magic tricks. It is not even really an hour, as the scheduled run time is forty minutes! However, Nathan invariably gets caught up in performing and runs late. Nathan switches up his show depending on the audience, and is even open to requests, inviting everyone present to suggest a trick that they might have seen him perform on TV or on Youtube.
When it started to rain, as is so common at this year’s Fringe, Nathan kindly allowed the audience to enter the tent that he is to perform in a few minutes earlier than planned. The last few bits of set up become an appropriately casual introduction to the “not really a show”. Nathan gradually starts introducing himself to his intimate audience during this time. By the time the magic starts properly, being invited up to participate in the tricks feels less like joining a performance and more like helping Nathan show everyone the cool skills that he has mastered.
The magic itself is exceptional. The Magic Hour is a close up magic show, and Nathan seems to favor his cards, but the one effect that he performs with several large coins is done to perfection as well. Nathan encourages the audience to lean in for a closer look, and even move their chairs behind him to try to catch him out. By the end of the hour, the majority of the audience has abandoned their chairs entirely to lean in as closely as possible to Nathan’s card table.
The time flies past in Nathan’s fascinating company. He seems to take genuine delight in his performance. Those looking for an hour of fun magic tricks can hardly do better than Nathan’s Magic Hour.