One of the great features of the Fringe is that you can see shows in pretty much any venue imaginable. Bars, pubs, and restaurants all clear out their back rooms to use as venues, the university partners with the Fringe to allow use of many of their buildings, and even churches allow the use of their halls, like the one on Nicolson Square where Liam Black has staged his show, The Magic Show Starring Liam A Black as the Glittering Prince of Magic. The ostentatious wordiness of the title promises a certain kind of show, and Black largely delivers on this.
It has been said that the easiest way to be at the top of your field is to pick a small field. In that vein, Black is indisputably the best magician at the Fringe at costume changes—he has a huge number of them and each costume is more elaborate, more glittery, and overall more fabulous than the last. In fact, it can be safely said that Black’s show has the greatest concentration of glitter of all Fringe magic shows. Aside from his own costumes, Black includes a sparkly assistant and team of glitter-clad dancers in his act, and is actually too much of a pastiche for this to come across as sexist. The group song and dance numbers are a highlight.
However, there are a few areas where Black feels a bit flat, and unfortunately the magic is one of them. At the reviewed show his final reveal, for example, was sadly fairly obvious from the start—the word was written a bit too clearly for it to be hidden from the audience when shown upside down. Black also spent an unfortunate amount of time playfully lambasting the audience at large for not laughing at a few of his early jokes. This was fair enough at first but eventually felt like he was berating his audience for the fact that he wasn’t being funny. Whether the audience warmed up or he moved on to better material, they did eventually start to laugh with him. The show is a solid concept, and there are definitely plenty of elements that felt like he had gotten them right, but also plenty of room for improvement.
That being said, The Magic Show Starring Liam A Black as the Glittering Prince of Magic is more than just a magic show, it’s a satire of classic magic tropes with enough glitter to make a whole church sparkle. At its best it perfectly balances paying tribute to the classic magic shows of the past with poking fun at their less than ideal features. While perhaps not perfectly executed on this occasion, the concept there, and this reviewer for one will be curious to see what Black comes up with next.
More information on Liam A Black and his performance dates can be found here.