• Becky Wallis

Magic Goes Wrong UK Tour Review (Hall For Cornwall)

When it comes to making people laugh, there is one theatre company that we are incredibly fortunate to have in our lives that we can rely on to raise the giggles and leave us smiling like overexcited Cheshire cats and that is Mischief Theatre. The team behind such hits as ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and BBC Television show ‘The Goes Wrong Show’, to name but a few, never seem to run out of new ideas and new ways of making us laugh, with a multitude of new shows and projects having been announced in the last few weeks alone.


Having launched not one, not two but three UK Tours in 2021, the longest running tour of the three, Magic Goes Wrong, is still going strong as it spreads Mischief’s unique brand of comedy up and down the country.

Magic Goes Wrong follows a gang of hapless magicians and performers as they stage a fundraiser for the victims of magical disasters, along for their show to become a disaster itself. With the event led and hosted by lover of all things classical magic Sophisticato (Sam Hill), we are introduced to danger loving endurance artist The Blade (Kiefer Moriarty), the mystical Mind Mangler (Rory Fairbairn and German sister act Bar and Spitzmaus (Chloe Tannenbaum and Jocelyn Prah) along with patron of the arts Eugenia (Valerie Cutko) and stagehands Wedge (Jay Olpin) and Claire (Ishbel Cumming) and Mickey (played at this performance by Ricky Oakley) who is definitely just a member of the audience and in no way connected to the show.


Much like people have come to know and love with many of Mischief’s previous great hits, the clue really is in the title here ‘Goes Wrong’. Expect chaos, expect accidents, expect a set that doesn’t behave itself, arguing co-stars and moments of shear theatrical brilliance in which things just go amazingly and incredibly wrong. And above all else, expect laughter and plenty of it.

Sam Hill’s Sophisticato is driven and has a clear passion for the magical arts, determined to do his father proud and put on the best possible show. As everything that he had planned for the fundraising extravaganza spirals out of control around him, he tries his best to hold it all together whilst trying to handle his personal life of coming to terms with his own upbringing. Hill’s Sophisticato is a character who is easy to feel for, you want him to ultimately succeed.


Magic Goes Wrong is a show that is crammed full of characters that you just can’t help but love, no matter how badly their acts may go. Kiefer Moriarty’s The Blade is a bundle of energy, chaotic and hilarious as he performs many a dangerous trick earning many of a laugh and delighting the audience throughout. As the Mind Mangler, Rory Fairbairn had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, bouncing effortlessly off of their energy and interaction. Whether being bombarded with responses about his predictions or pushed to push his luck with a dangerous roulette trick, the audience were loving every moment of his acts as he tried his best to keep his cool.


Bar and Spitzmaus are characters that are full of energy and as the pair of squabbling sisters, Jocelyn Prah and Chloe Tannenbaum excelled. The two sisters are about as different as chalk and cheese, with Spitzmaus' enthusiasm and agility bringing out the competitive side in the slightly clumsier Bar, her clumsiness doesn’t stop her from messing with The Blade though, much to the delight of the audience.

Valerie Cutko’s Eugenia brings an air of grace to the proceedings with stagehand Wedge, played by the comical Jay Olpin jumped at every opportunity to cause mischief as stagehand Wedge with Ishbel Cumming’s Claire also offering a helping hand. Ricky Oakley’s Mickey also proved a hit with the audience, being called to help out with the Mind Mangler’s tricks and kicking off the entertainment even before the show had officially started, interacting with the audience in the preshow and trying to find people willing to share their sweets.


Whilst the show may be all about the magic that goes wrong, you have to also appreciate the magic tricks that go brilliantly right with a number of elusions leaving the audience wondering ‘how did they do that?’. This true reminder of the wonder of magic expertly woven into the chaos and hilarity of multiple things going very very wrong only goes to show the genius of the writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields in partnership with magic royalty Penn & Teller.


Overall, Magic Goes Wrong is guaranteed to draw a laugh from even the most stoic of audience members with moments of shock, slapstick and surprise causing eruptions of laughter and the cast bouncing off of the energy in an equal eruption of pure joy.


The tour only has one more week to go in Birmingham but here's to keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed that it returns one day.

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