The Edinburgh-renowned Magic Gareth managed all but a full house on a sunny Edinburgh Sunday morning—the first magical feat of the reviewed performance of Magic Gareth’s Magic Eye. The one potential critique of the show is both immediately obvious at the start of the show while not being at all his fault, that due to the shape of the stage and audience layout individuals who chose to sit at the far edges are unable to see Gareth on stage. There is a brief moment of shuffling around when he first comes on, and future audiences are advised to arrive early and get central seats. That being said, the rest of the show—the bits that Gareth has control over—are difficult to fault. Even the smallest members of his audience are happily engaged for the full hour.
Gareth’s magic and child-friendly stunts consistently amaze, and get the whole audience involved. His fun take on Russian roulette culminates in a surprise that, from personal experience, is a refreshing treat for a hot summer day. And when he has an extra special prop to show off he makes sure to run around the whole audience so that everyone gets a chance to touch it. This prop’s use results in one of the visual highlights of the show, featuring Gareth using a hilarious makeshift blindfold to show off his skills without using sight. Cameras came out up and down the audience as everyone wanted their memento.
Given his reputation as a children’s performer it would be expected that Gareth is good with the children in his audience, and he is indeed great with them. He involves the little ones at every possible opportunity, making them feel important without giving them anything too taxing or stressful to do. His final words onstage are especially sweet for the kids, making sure that every single person in his audience leaves the show feeling special.
Magic Gareth is so well known as a children’s performer that even us Edinburghers without children of our own have often heard of him, and in Magic Gareth’s Magic Eye he more than lives up to his reputation. Children’s entertainment doesn’t get much better than this.
More information on Magic Gareth can be found here.
If previous years’ trends are anything to go by, Fringe goers love watching a beautiful and stylish Scottish mentalist read people’s minds. For all in search of this, Cameron Gibson is the mentalist to go to this year. There is more to recommend him than just physical beauty—he is also a funny and compelling performer. In his wordily titled Mysteries; An Hour of Impossibilities Gibson displays a well structured mentalist show.
Gibson does not limit himself to mentalism, opting for a classic cup and ball to get the show going, to great success. A few tipsy audience members who had wandered in apparently entirely aware of what they were getting themselves in for could be heard commenting that Mysteries; An Hour of Impossibilities was already the best show they had seen this year as Gibson set his cup and ball to the side. The one slight hiccup came in his transition to the more mentalism-themed part of the show, when a supposedly suggestible participant was slightly less suggestible than expected, but Gibson did not miss a beat, and her initial hesitation only made the second step of Gibson’s work with her that much more impressive.
However the main event is Gibson’s mind reading using personality questionnaires that he had asked the audience to fill in immediately on entering the venue. The quasi-psychological twist of using personality tests rather than just random bits of information adds interest. Gibson outlines the personality types of his participants based on their responses, in what he freely admits are horoscope-level generalizations, before accurately mind reading more specific details. The range of information gleaned and individuals read made for an exciting final segment.
With a convenient pre-dinner time slot at the ever popular Voodoo Rooms Gibson is this year’s must-see for the Fringe’s mentalism fans. An hour in his affable company will only leave audiences wanting more.
More information on Cameron Gibson can be found here.
If magic is known for anything other than the tricks, it’s the bad jokes that make audiences groan until they reluctantly laugh. Brendon Peel, in Impossible! With Brendon Peel got the memo loud and clear, with an impressive stream of jokes that are absolutely terrible in the absolute best way. Impossible! Is an intentionally hodgepodge show, as Peel explains at the start that his aim is to give the audience a taste of each of the genres of magic, from sleight of hand to mind reading. The audience gets a glimpse of an apparently sweet and supportive friendship with fellow magician Tomas McCabe, who Peel points out at the back of his audience as the one to see for those who especially enjoy his mentalism section. But for an overview of magic, Peel is the one to see.
A highlight of the tricks on offer is Peel’s card finding trick. At the reviewed show the participant brought up to help with this was a young boy who looked thrilled to have been invited to share the spotlight. Peel is great with the kids in his audience, going out of his way to involve them all in his act—which is not explicitly geared toward children but is family friendly. Peel’s card finding trick was elevated by its callback to the first mind reading trick of the show, adding an unexpected extra reveal.
This first trick incidentally was a longer-form reveal that many magicians use as a grand finale. Its placement at the start of the show is an early indication of Peel’s skill and justified confidence in his act. Like the acrobats who jump straight in to a three-high tower in their opening number, he lets the audience know that they don’t need to wait until the end to be impressed, the entire show is on that higher level.
Impossible! With Brendon Peel is a perfect introduction to magic for all ages, and his excellent showmanship makes it fun for seasoned magic fans as well. His limited Fringe run is already proving popular, with a busy audience for his first weekend. He can only get more popular as word of his abilities spreads.
More information on Brendon Peel can be found here.