Theatre review: The Naked Magicians

The Naked Magicians at the Pleasance
The Naked Magicians at the Pleasance
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Nothing up their sleeves... magic wands... some reviews write themselves.

Star rating: ****
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

Which is just as well, because when a show features two buff ­Aussie magicians in the buff, I’m not going to be taking things down myself.

As it happens, it’s easy to remember the details. Christopher Wayne is the blond in the white tux, Mike Tyler the brunette favouring maroon. So yes, they’re not naked for the whole show, nudity comes as the, well, climax. For the first half, they’re conventionally clad – but pretty darn naughty.

The tricks are well ­within the realm of Paul Daniels and Ali Bongo, but the boys’ upfront attitude to sex puts a whole new spin on things. So the “yes, what you just said is already on this bit of paper” routine involves the porn names of audience members (fnar fnar), the “did we really smash your mobile phone?” bit sees a condom become a cellphone cover, the glamorous assistant is a blow-up doll... it could be sleazy, but Tyler and Wayne’s sweet manner ensures audience volunteers never feel uncomfortable.

When the time comes for clothing to be cast aside, there’s a contest – last one to escape a straitjacket strips first. Tonight Wayne is the first prestidigitator to peel everything off – well, apart from a mic pack to go with the six-pack. His solo trick – no spoilers – is witty and perfectly pulled off. And when it’s time for Tyler to join Wayne, he doesn’t just toss off the clothes, stripping becomes a trick in itself.

The finale is as cheesy as it is cheeky, the perfect topper to a terrific hour. Legendary stripper Gypsy Rose Lee supposedly said “you gotta have a gimmick” and while the Naked Magicians have taken that to heart, they’re superb craftsmen – much more than the sum of their parts.

Until 29 August. Today 10:30pm.