Chris Cook is a Free Fringe institution, now returned to his perennial late afternoon slot in the ballroom of the Voodoo Rooms, a PBH magic hub. Like many of us, Cook has done some reflecting over the course of the pandemic. Unlike most of us, he has transformed his ruminations in to a thoughtful and inspiring magic show, Reflections.
For the repeat attendees in his audience the tricks and themes of Reflections may feel reminiscent of Cook’s past shows. A few strong magical and emotional beats from 2017’s Control come through in particular. Fans of Cook’s more meta work will also not be disappointed, as the show develops to touch on the unacknowledged energy that we share in in-person interaction through the lens of the relationship between a magician and their audience.
The magic in Cook’s shows is always flawless. A highlight of this year is a mentalist effect featuring a multicolored cube. The first half of this is often performed in popular late-night mentalist acts, but here Cook adds a magic twist that keeps the audience on their toes. The segment leading in to this, that began with a full audience participation, is a highlight as well. This got several individuals fiercely competitive for the chance to join Cook onstage. At the reviewed show Cook dealt with an unusually lively audience, but had little trouble maintaining control of the room.
Cook’s brand of emotive magic is invariably an absolute delight. His late afternoon shows are an invitation to consider your life, regardless of the title (“Reflections” of course openly encourages this), while watching some magic and listening to some stories. If you’re open to it this will be a comfort—a sort of guided meditation with plenty of jokes and a sprinkling of magic. Cook is gradually making the world a better place one audience at a time. While he talks about how his audience can show their appreciation for his magic tricks, this is his biggest effect and it’s a shame that there’s no defined moment for him to appreciate it.
It’s difficult to review Cook without sounding like a member of his cult, and perhaps it only makes it worse to say that if you attend his shows you’ll understand. That being said? This is definitely one to see. His always are.
More information on Cook and his performance dates can be found here.