THEATRE REVIEW: Magic Goes Wrong at Sheffield Lyceum

Pic: Pamela Raith PhotographyPic: Pamela Raith Photography
Pic: Pamela Raith Photography

IF YOU’'VE half a mind to become a magician, don’t worry, that’s all you need!

Or so it appears from The Mind Mangler and co in Mischief Theatre’s delightfully daft magic show featuring flashing lights, a live bear and glitter some may find offensive, so the announcer tells us.

From the people who brought you The Play That Goes Wrong, this is a collaboration with real life magicians Penn and Teller, who helped write it.

Old-style stage magician Sophisticato (a charmingly hapless Sam Hill) has organised a “Disasters in Magic Charity Fundraiser” following the recent death of his estranged father, the original Sophisticato. 

With his dad’s wand finally in his hand, he hosts four terrible magical acts — a less than psychic psychic, a seriously dangerous magician and a squabbling German double act, plus singing star and patron Eugenia (Valerie Cutko), who comes to an hilarious sticky end.

The parodies are cleverly done, none better than Rory Fairburn as The Mind Mangler, struggling to keep his cool as he interacts with difficult customers in the stalls and an impudent teleprompter, as the running gags keep coming. 

Kiefer Moriarty’s The Blade is a wonderful send-up of new-age magic, while Jocelyn Prah (Spitzmaus) and Chloe Tannenbaum (Bar), share some deliciously funny moments and Daniel Anthony is a great stooge. The sets and stage video set-up worked a treat.

Of course, by the end, the magic goes right as it emerges out of the chaos and slapstick, plus accidental deaths of the cast, assorted stage managers and audience volunteers along the way. 

It’s maybe a bit slow in the first half, probably overall a little too long, but the nearly-full theatre was buzzing again to the excitement of not-socially-distanced live theatre. And there were a lot of laughs.

You didn’t need The Mind Mangler’s special powers to tell that everyone had a great night out.

Magic Went Wrong is at Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday.

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