The 2021 Fringe didn’t feel like a real Fringe, which at the time was easily attributed to the reduced size, prevalence of masks, and test and trace isolation guidelines. In hindsight, however, it may have just been the absence of Griffin and Jones. Whether through their slapdash magic or iconic 1AM cabaret, these two are innate to the spirit of the Fringe, and it is a joy to see them back. Idiot Magicians is the perfect title for their show, and they do not disappoint, either with the magic or the exemplary displays of lighthearted idiocy.
Griffin and Jones involve a variety of original props in their show, from a mind reading melon to a jar of jellybeans. While their tricks often follow classic patterns, the manner in which they are presented are wholly their own. It can be hard to review a show without spoiling it for readers, but it is difficult to imagine that Griffin and Jones would object to their future audiences hearing about the live dolphins that star in the second half of their show. While animal use in magic shows has a dubious past, Griffin and Jones assure their audience that the dolphins are well cared for. Bar staff at their venue have been heard to tell that if the dolphins choose not to perform Griffin and Jones replace their routine with a magical take on a striptease, described as weird but definitely magical and surprisingly sexy.
Audience participants are similarly well treated. Members of the audience may briefly feel the mock ire of Griffin and Jones on dropping a treasured prop, but all is rapidly assured to be in good fun. The pair respond well to unexpected hiccups in their audience members. At the reviewed show a participant forgot the card that she had chosen—surely a relatable moment for all who have participated in that capacity—and Griffin and Jones help her out without undercutting their reveal.
In a world that often feels like it’s hurtling toward a smorgasbord of potential future apocalypses while simultaneously feeling stuck in time or even pulled backwards by the machinations of political elites, perhaps a little Idiot Magic is exactly what is needed. Griffin and Jones teach their audience to find joy in the little idiocies of their magic, and to spread this idiocy and joy in their own lives.
More information on Griffin and Jones and their performance dates can be found here.
Trickorice Allsorts is a delightfully punny show title, which is appropriate as magicians Griffin and Jones are like the human embodiments of a pun. Their wacky slapdash style is perfectly coordinated and precisely executed. The chaos that is ever present throughout the show may appear, at times, to be genuinely beyond their control, but by the end of the performance the audience is convinced that Griffin and Jones have always been in command of everything that happens on their stage.
The magic tricks that Griffin and Jones perform are not necessarily original in their fundamental structure, but the trappings that they dress them in express their characteristic style at every opportunity. From the clown-like opening silent sequence featuring a newspaper to their tombola-themed memento recovery trick, their performance is consistently unpredictable in its silliness. The magic itself is performed accurately as well, and many reveals provoke involuntary exclamations of astonishment from the audience. The triumph of their tricks is perhaps even more impressive as it is presented against a background of apparent pandemonium.
Griffin and Jones can only pull off this wacky style so well as it is paired with such precisely executed tricks, but these factors are brought together so successfully because of their energy and chemistry. The show that was reviewed ended up having a relatively small audience, but this had no apparent impact on the larger than life comedy that Griffin and Jones brought to the performance. They bring this energy to their interactions with their audience participants as well. If they do tease on occasion, it is gentle enough that it only serves to make their participants feel welcome in temporarily joining them on stage. It is also so lovely to watch Griffin and Jones bolster and bounce off of each other with such genuine support. The audience gets the impression that that real trust between the two is the true foundation for their success on stage.
Griffin and Jones are fantastically ridiculous performers as well as skilled magicians. Trickorice Allsorts is, as suggested both by the pun and by Griffin and Jones themselves, a bit of a mixed bag of random magic tricks. However, in quality, style, and sheer concentrated silliness, Trickorice Allsorts is consistently remarkable.
Griffin and Jones can be found at Liquid Rooms Annexe (Venue 276) during the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe at 19:50 from August 23-26
More information on Griffin and Jones and their performance dates can be found here