Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), Edinburgh
Until 27 August 2018
Simon Evans and David Aula have written and are performing in not one but two shows back to back at the Fringe. Mad? Perhaps. Known for directing dramas such as Killer Joe and The Cement Garden, here they play magicians – are magicians – performing a series of spellbinding card, vanishing and mind-reading tricks.
But there is a narrative too, these are more than magic shows and each play has a theme and a personal story – and lots of amusing and clever audience participation (sit further back if that makes you uncomfortable).
They are plays of sleight of hand, seemingly explaining how tricks are done while performing another that just bamboozles and astounds even more.
The Vanishing Man
This play centres on a trick by Edwardian magician David Cedar in which he seemingly vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. Described as the magic trick that got away, Evans and Aula explore the concept and theory of magic in order to work out how it was done – re-create it to explain it. Sort of.
They cleverly work the audience or rather get the audience working not just with assisting and close up observation of tricks – picking cards etc but also feeding lines of dialogue. It is funny but not at anyone’s expense and cleverly draws you close while distracting you with amusement.
Fast-paced, there is a lot that is impressive from the magic itself to the way the narratives weaves and how seemingly random threads come together. It is frolicking, clever fun and ends with a poignant punch line.