At an Edinburgh Fringe where many familiar magicians are absent or performing limited runs, Dave Alnwick is back for full Fringe long of three to five shows a day. By numbers alone, he accounts for exactly one third of the magic listings on the PBH Free Fringe website this year. His two daytime shows, Super Chill Magic and Exceptional Magic, are intentionally very similar to accommodate his many fans, which is why they are both best addressed in this one review.
The household name status that Alnwick has achieved at the Fringe makes the audience experience at his shows extra special. People who manage to secure spots at the fronts of his queues have the camaraderie of successful pilgrims, holding spots in the queue for strangers who have urgent errands and exchanging phone numbers so those who remain can immediately update the errand-runner if anything changes. The hype might sound excessive but as soon as the show starts, Alnwick proves that he’s earned it.
Both Super Chill and Exceptional Magic have a bit of sleight of hand but rely more heavily on mentalism, Alnwick’s specialty. Everything is performed flawlessly, as his audiences have learned they can expect. A card trick that he performs with two audience participants in each show is a particular highlight, with Alnwick leaving his deck of cards in the participants’ hands for the majority of the effect. In the talent-scouting portion of the reviewed Super Chill Magic, Alnwick found an excellent participant who briefly stole the show, and would not be out of place on his own stage, perhaps at next year’s Fringe. Choosing participants who will best enhance the show is a skill in itself, and one that Alnwick has clearly mastered over his long career.
Super Chill and Exceptional Magic are well timed to accommodate Alnwick’s variety of fans. Super Chill Magic is in the early afternoon, earlier than most shows, for the Fringe tourists to kick off a busy day of show-hopping. Exceptional Magic, on the other hand, is just about late enough for locals to pop in after a day in the office, and to catch those unwilling to get out of bed in time for Super Chill Magic. Both Alnwick and this reviewer agree that attendance at both is not necessary for any but the most devout of his followers. Either one is sufficient to re-cement the legend of Alnwick in the Fringe collective consciousness for another year.
More information on Dave Alnwick and his performance dates can be found here.