Simon Evans’ The New Magic Show


ADC Theatre, 10th – 13th June


‘Magic is for geeks,’ I hear you shout, OK fair cop. Magic might be for geeks but this show is not just for the guy who learns shitty card tricks just to have an excuse to talk to girls that usually wouldn’t look twice at him. This guy pulls off a pretty good show, he is not some wanky magician who pretends to be genuinely ‘magic,’ nor is he a hammy showman with a Barbie girl assistant (sorry lads). Simon Evans is more like a stand up than a magician and surprisingly he is actually funny.

Evans starts the show with a very fast paced and skilfully executed trick using a biro. He then explains to the audience not just how he did the trick but how stupid the audience are for falling for it. It was this refreshing comic style that really carried the show. The quality of the tricks was variable, not least because doing card tricks to such a large audience where most of them can’t actually see what he is doing is hardly going to wow anyone. Being funny and a good showman will always cover any mediocre tricks or small hiccups in the routine. Audiences don’t mind a mediocre trick here and there if they are kept laughing throughout, and they were.

That is not to say that some of the tricks were not good, some were very good indeed, inspired even. Like predicting what the very sexy Lucy Marples of John’s was wearing under her dress  (It was a black bra and brown knickers bought from Italy for those that are interested… yes that is right Italy… so if you chance upon a Lucy Marples in this May week remember that she has an inner minx, despite angelic appearances). What’s more Producing rubber balls, peaches, yogurts and baby bells from a small metal cup and stuffing ETG Hamlet director David Brown into a cardboard box and appearing to skewer him with broom handles until he fell silent, were just some of the more impressive tricks Evans had up his sleeve. Although it was obvious that he had dropped through a trap door, it was again pulled off with an emphasis on the comic, like Brown finally emerging in a pink dress.

He did however rather break the tone of the piece with an emotional little speech about how much magic has done for him, how it gave him confidence to do x, y and z. I don’t mean to be harsh, but his emotional testimony to the power of magic tricks giving teenagers confidence put a bit of a downer on a very entertaining show, but at least he was brief. I could not help thinking that what he was really trying to say was that he was a real geek as a teenager and only learnt his magic to get on socially and impress women. It may be that he has a fair point, if all under confident teenagers, or even under confident adults, learnt magic they might all have his confidence. As we know the world would be a better place if everyone was a little sexually frustrated, so if you are reading this and haven’t been touched all year try learning some magic tricks for May week, it clearly worked for Simon Evans.

Thankfully he regained his reputation in the final routine where he allowed his real brilliance to shine through. Evans, dancing to Frank Sinatra, pulled cards from thin air then appearing to shred them and produced fountains of card confetti that shot from his hands, then appearing to conjure the cards to spin through the air unassisted between his ‘magic’ hands (a trick done with translucent thread and a transparent blue tack if I am not much mistaken). The routine was executed with such immense skill that any audience would have been overwhelmed by it. Magic and Frank make bloody good combination and it is not at all hard to see how magic gives the under confident confidence, and makes the socially awkward into the smooth, sweet talker.

This guy is just cool, there is no other way to say it, save the emotional, Simon Evans is a pleasure to watch and gives a damn cool show, definitely one well worth seeing.