Magic Goes Wrong - West End Review
After everything that we have been through over the last couple of years, and by the looks of it, will continue to go through for some time to come, you would be forgiven for thinking that laughter is in short supply, but hilarity is still out there to be had and Mischief Theatre are providing it by the bucketload with their new West End production of ‘Magic Goes Wrong’.
Having originally opened at the Vaudeville in December 2019, and with this original version of the show due to be resuming its UK tour in the new year, the writing team behind ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and hit BBC show ‘The Goes Wrong Show’ have put this magical stage show through a rigorous rewrite and brought it back to Shaftesbury Avenue’s Apollo Theatre with new characters, more tricks, and even bigger disasters. ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ features a gang of hapless magicians trying to raise money for the disasters in magic charity fund through a televised extravaganza, with hilarious and catastrophic results.
Led by magician Sophisticato (played at this performance by Mischief (th)understudy Christian James), who sets out to make his late magician father proud, we are introduced to a plethora of magic makers, who may just have ideas above their capabilities, just maybe. There’s The Mind Mangler (Henry Lewis), who believes he can find out everything about anyone through the power of his senses, so called helper Mickey (Sydney K Smith), the fearless feels no pain Blade (Kazeem Tosin-Amore), magical assistants Martina (played at this performance by (th)understudy Steph De Whalley) and Mel (Scott Hunter), charity benefactor Eugenia (Genevieve Nicole) and mother and daughter escapology act Madame Escapade (Jane Milligan) and Peg (Louise Beresford). With magicians on the rampage and stagehands Wedge and Claire (played at this performance by Ricky Oakley and Ishbel Cumming, both members of the UK Tour cast) trying their best to help, ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ is a recipe for absolute hilarity.
On a day where many West end productions were forced to cancel performances due to Covid enforced absences, there was a huge buzz of excitement in the auditorium as the pre-show entertainment kicked off, getting the audience into the spirit of things straight away. After years of stage hits, tv success and almost of year of keeping us all laughing with their livestream shows, people have come to expect non-stop laughter and fun from Mischief Comedy and ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ doesn’t disappoint. From the very start we are laughing at the stagehands attempts to get the show prepared, being pulled into the action by the Mind Mangler (sometimes literally) and giggling away as Sophisticato tries his best to hold it all together as the Blade and his fellow magical acts cause chaos.
Christian James Sophisticato is a passionate and determined magician, displaying that ‘the show must go on’ attitude no matter what as he tries to hide his frustration and make it to the end of the fundraiser in one piece whilst Kazeem Tosin-Amore’s Blade is chaotic and carefree, boasting that there is no such thing as pain. Henry Lewis displays top notch skills in audience interaction and improv as he picks out members of the audience and tries to guess their occupations. A highlight came when he picked me out of the audience, and I don’t think that he was expecting me to say that I write theatre reviews as part of my journalism degree. It was so funny as he pleaded for a five-star review if the tricks were to go correctly. Sydney K Smith also had the audience in stitches as the Mind mangler’s helper as Genevieve Nicole’s Eugenia brings an air of grace against all of the challenges to proceedings.
New characters Martina, Mel, Madame Escapade and Peg add a delightful new twist to the comedy, with Steph De Whalley’s Martina’s competition with the Blade providing many a laugh and Scott Hunter’s Mel really getting the audience on their side as they plead for their chance to perform. Jane Milligan’s Madame Escapade is larger than life, delighting in the magic of escapology as she tries to convince daughter Peg to continue the family business. Louise Beresford’s conflicted Peg adds heart to the piece as she chooses between independence and performing with her mother.
Overall, ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ is a masterclass in the art of comedy, proving once again that Mischief Theatre are at the absolute top of the game when it comes to making audiences laugh until their sides hurt. It’s old school classic humour, combined with magic and although the words ‘goes wrong’ may be in the title, you will be surprised to see just how many amazing magic tricks the cast are able to pull off. Some tricks will leave you scratching your head as to how they are done, leaving you amazed as you nurse your aching cheeks from smiling from ear to ear. When it comes to providing the laughs that we all need so badly right now, ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ can do no wrong.
‘Magic Goes Wrong’ runs at the Apollo Theatre until February 27. Tickets are available here
Image credit – Tristram-Kenton