Now this is how to do a magic show. It’s not just that Aussie “fake wizard” Dom Chambers’ magic tricks make you think “how the frigging hell did he do that?” Repeatedly. It’s that he makes us laugh while he’s doing it.
Best known for his run in America’s Got Talent (where he got to the semi-final) and for appearing on Broadway in The Illusionists, this is Chambers’ first Edinburgh visit. On this showing it won’t be his last. And next time he will probably be playing a bigger venue.
Fake Wizard starts with an empty paper bag from which Chambers pulls a pint of beer. And then another. And another, and another … To the point where you stop trying to work out how he’s doing it and start wondering if the magic is fake after all.
What follows is a smorgasbord of sleights of hand, the inevitable card tricks (good ones, it should be noted) and some stuff with a phone in a blender. And I haven’t even mentioned the erotic dancing to Enya. Oh and there’s a condom. In fact, there is a really great bit with a condom which gives a whole new twist to the card in the wallet trick.
Chambers is a sharp, confident and funny entertainer who is adept at getting the audience to take part (sharing his beer may help in this regard). He has described Fake Wizard as a kind of greatest hits show, a chance for his Edinburgh audience to see the work that made his name. And yet what helps him stand out is a real sense of novelty, particularly in the way he adds in digital technology – Siri plays a major part in the show – to his stagecraft to give a real sense that he’s breaking new ground.
None of which would matter, of course, if he didn’t impress you with his tricks. And he does. Again and again. This is the real thing, whatever the title might suggest.
Dom Chambers: Fake Wizard is on at Assembly George Square – The Blue Room at 5.50pm until August 28 (except August 15)