The 2021 Fringe didn’t feel like a real Fringe, which at the time was easily attributed to the reduced size, prevalence of masks, and test and trace isolation guidelines. In hindsight, however, it may have just been the absence of Griffin and Jones. Whether through their slapdash magic or iconic 1AM cabaret, these two are innate to the spirit of the Fringe, and it is a joy to see them back. Idiot Magicians is the perfect title for their show, and they do not disappoint, either with the magic or the exemplary displays of lighthearted idiocy.
Griffin and Jones involve a variety of original props in their show, from a mind reading melon to a jar of jellybeans. While their tricks often follow classic patterns, the manner in which they are presented are wholly their own. It can be hard to review a show without spoiling it for readers, but it is difficult to imagine that Griffin and Jones would object to their future audiences hearing about the live dolphins that star in the second half of their show. While animal use in magic shows has a dubious past, Griffin and Jones assure their audience that the dolphins are well cared for. Bar staff at their venue have been heard to tell that if the dolphins choose not to perform Griffin and Jones replace their routine with a magical take on a striptease, described as weird but definitely magical and surprisingly sexy.
Audience participants are similarly well treated. Members of the audience may briefly feel the mock ire of Griffin and Jones on dropping a treasured prop, but all is rapidly assured to be in good fun. The pair respond well to unexpected hiccups in their audience members. At the reviewed show a participant forgot the card that she had chosen—surely a relatable moment for all who have participated in that capacity—and Griffin and Jones help her out without undercutting their reveal.
In a world that often feels like it’s hurtling toward a smorgasbord of potential future apocalypses while simultaneously feeling stuck in time or even pulled backwards by the machinations of political elites, perhaps a little Idiot Magic is exactly what is needed. Griffin and Jones teach their audience to find joy in the little idiocies of their magic, and to spread this idiocy and joy in their own lives.
More information on Griffin and Jones and their performance dates can be found here.