Theatre review: Strangers: A Magic Play II

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Magic and drama are occasionally, but not often, found in the same show – unless that show’s by Joe Strickland, who’s been creating narrative-based magic performances since the age of 15.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53)

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The follow-up to last year’s popular piece, it’s once again a series of short scenes, performed by actors from Nottingham New Theatre, in which mime and comedy merge with the magic to ensure that the storytelling, as well as the tricks, leads to a few surprises.

Both Arthur Mckechnie and Natalie Henderson – as a homeless man and a gambler – find they are playfully undermined by the tricks they perform in a way that’s amusing. Lara Bellis’s impassioned political campaigner is particularly interesting. If you don’t stand up (or in the case of Rosa Parks, sit down) “you might as well be invisible,” she concludes as the images from a pack of cards disappear. It’s a super, subversive piece that could easily be developed into a full-length show.

Strickland brings the performance to a close with a routine that humorously ties in many of the props that “disappeared” earlier – a wry conclusion to a show that proves that simple tricks can be used in fresh, imaginative and thought provoking ways.

Until 26 August. Today noon.