The PBH’s Best of Magic show, hosted by Chris Cook, featured a different lineup of magicians at each of its three performances. This review is of the third and final performance, and it was a fitting finale to a Fringe full of incredible magic.
Cook was the perfect choice to host this show. His love for magic shone through each and every one of the glowing introductions that he gave his fellow magicians. After watching him juggle getting the crowd excited for each act, helping out in various ways throughout the performances, and performing his own magic tricks when the occasion called for it, it is easy to see why Cook has found success in the hectic realm of performing at private parties. His unflappable cheeriness at every juncture held the show together.
The show kicked off with Aaron Calvert, a mind reading magician whose main show culminates in hypnosis. Here, with less time, he focuses on the mind reading, using an audience member to choose numbers on a die for him to figure out. Calvert’s commanding presence kept the audience mesmerized by his feats.
Next up was the delightfully creepy Ava Beaux. Her Edgar Allan Poe themed show was reviewed here on one of her first performances, and she has only improved over the course of her time at the Fringe—she certainly had plenty of performances in which to do so, as she proved to be so popular that she had to run her show twice a day to satisfy her fans. Beaux’s performance persona had consistently been one of her strong points, and even that had developed further; she was fully committed to her darkly comic character. Beaux is reminiscent (if she would permit a more modern comparison than Poe) of Lemony Snicket, of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” fame. Her magic tricks were appreciably neat and polished, and she kept up the flow of her act to seamlessly incorporate her illusions.
Following Beaux came a properly comic interval, featuring Tom Crosbie. Crosbie’s main show included a variety of mathematical and Rubik’s cube based comedy. Here he focused on the Rubik’s cubes, showing off his quick solves, and tricks like solving the Rubik’s cube while it was in midair. While Crosbie does not do what one would consider a quintessentially magic centered act, his set was entertaining and provided an interesting change of pace.
David Narayan came next, with his own take on mentalism. He also brought along a taste of the magical history lesson that featured so prominently in his main show, The Psychic Project. Also similarly to his main show, he kept a twist for the end—which, in this case, featured an unusually exciting wardrobe change. Narayan’s performances at this Fringe have been heavily informed by history, but it is such characteristic personal flourishes that truly set him apart.
The show wrapped up with a final set by Dave Alnwick, another magician who has proved incredibly popular this year. His wallet-based trick, featuring multiplying yellow fluffy balls, was a fun and playful way to end the show. Like in all of Alnwick’s performances, his charismatic personality kept the audience engaged regardless of what he was doing on stage. As Alnwick is also an amazingly skilled magician, the audience was captivated.
This performance of the Best of Magic show featured a wonderfully skilled lineup and stellar performances from every entertainer. Each one of these performers are exceptional in their own right, and watching them perform on the same stage was a delight.