Review: Magic Goes Wrong at The Alhambra, Bradford

From the great comedians who brought us The Play That Goes Wrong, Magic Goes Wrong brings with it similar touches of hilarity with beautifully timed comic moments that bring sparkles of Mischief Theatre to the stage.

Magic Goes Wrong follows a doomed fundraiser as magician Sophisticato tries to honour to the legacy of his father. Amongst the haphazard artistes that grace the stage, we have a daredevil called The Blade, a Derren Brown-style illusionist Mind Mangler and a squabbling gymnastic duo. Of course, nothing goes to plan, and that’s exactly what we’re all here for.

The show gets off to a slow and steady start as the cast set the scene and, more importantly, set up jokes that reach their crescendo in the second half. There’s something for everyone, from physical comedy to dark humour – though the moments that really make everyone laugh are points of hysteria when everything is going disastrously wrong.

The cast are fantastic and bring mountains of energy, but it still feels at times as though we’re watching a tribute band pay homage to big boots they can’t quite fill. Mischief Theatre create whirlwind productions and bring them to life in their own unique way, which leaves any touring cast left with the option of replicating the original version exactly or putting their own unique spin on it. The cast do all vibe very nicely together and there are enough manic moments to get real momentum – resulting in a guffawing audience. Enjoying a collective moment of hilarity after a few years away from a live entertainment atmosphere is something I truly treasure.

Sam Hill is a mighty presence as Sophisticato and we really do feel for his character at times. Rory Fairbairn as the Mind Mangler, along with his stooge/friend Mickey, are a fantastic duo and have great banter with one another. Fairburn brings vulnerability to a role that could be played with utter bravado which works brilliantly and adds an empathetic dimension to his character.

Of course, it wouldn’t have the same effect if the magic wasn’t… well, magic. Penn and Teller have co-written the show with Ben Hart consulting, which means there are plenty of genuine moments of magic and amazement sprinkled throughout.

If you’re after a good night out with plenty of laughs, Magic Goes Wrong is definitely the right show for you. Catch it at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford until Saturday 5th March.

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