Arron Jones performs a few pieces of scary magic in his One Hour Straightjacket Escape Magic Show, but perhaps the scariest feature is how much of the show is left in the hands of his audience participants. This presents an interesting unstated theme. Like all magicians Jones presumably put a lot of effort in to creating this show, and from the start he places his trust in these strangers—albeit strangers who wandered in to the back of a pub just to see him—to carry out the bulk of the fulfillment of his creation. It’s a kind of wholesome, calculated laziness.
The only people who will be disappointed with this show will be those who genuinely wanted to watch a man struggle to escape a straightjacket for a full hour—while Jones does eventually make his way out, the majority of the hour is spent with him apparently content to be tied up. Those of us hoping for creatively themed magic under this unusual self-imposed restriction will have no complaints.
By and large Jones’s trust in his audience is justified. Anyone who has tried to talk someone else through a new task will know the sheer variety of unpredictable ways that people mess up at unfamiliar instructions, and Jones does indeed come up against this—early on in the reviewed show. He deals with this well enough, not breaking character, and the participant in question both has a good time and eventually figured out how to do the task requested of him.
A highlight is a card trick that culminates in an assisted striptease for an exciting reveal. The participant chosen for this looked thrilled to be helping him. Like most of us, she had been enjoying Jones’s custom music that accompanied a lot of his set up and transition times, and her visible enthusiasm made her a fantastic choice to share the stage with him.
The risk of going to a show titled as One Hour Straightjacket Escape Magic Show is that it turns in to a repetitive rehashing of the magician escaping from various binds. Jones does not fall in to this category, instead having put together one of the most creative of the magazine-style magic shows at this fringe. The straightjacket restricts his movements but he more than rises to the challenge. This is the magic show to see if you think you’ve seen it all.