Cabaret & variety review: Snap

Magic can be pretty hard to sell these days.


Star rating: ****
Venue: Assembly George Square ­Theatre (Venue 8)

Whereas once smoke and mirrors would be enough to hoodwink people into believing pretty much anything, we’re now a lot more sceptical and switched on, while the big illusionists have stolen the thunder from more subtle magicians.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Yet there is still something utterly charming, and ­mystifying, about close-up sleight of hand magic. And although a large space like the George Square Theatre means we’re not really that close up, Snap is still full of tricks that have you shaking your head in puzzlement.

Because even though we have a rough idea where all those objects are coming from (up a sleeve, behind a back), when it’s done well – as it is here – we’re swept up in the moment. At times it’s beautiful (a routine filled with glitter and sand flying up into the air) other times it’s comical or unexpectedly clever (a fairly standard card trick routine is taken to a whole new level when the entire thing is rewound and played backwards).

The eight magicians and illusionists who have come together for Snap are all award-winners in their own right, in demand in their native Korea and beyond. Each has a speciality, so little is done collectively, ­giving the show a fun, ­variety feel.

Inevitably there are stand-out moments, where our incredulity ratchets up a notch. A section titled ‘The Flash’ finds a man and ­woman changing clothes at a speed that defies logic. Outfit after outfit is revealed, after mere seconds inside a black canvas tube or box, until you’re laughing out loud in disbelief.

Clothing is also altered at speed in ‘The Dreamer’, but uses digital technology and lighting rather than quick-change techniques. The skill and ingenuity at play here is a smile-inducing wonder you won’t forget in a hurry.

Until 29 August. Tomorrow 1:20pm