Reviewer: Tracey Lowe
Despite many years as a performing magician, and numerous television appearances, Ali Cook is not yet a household name. It could be argued that the most famous person associated with magic in the UK is probably Paul Daniels. However, Cook’s style couldn’t be more different to family-friendly Daniels, performing slightly disturbing tricks, and is more likely to swear than utter “abracadabra”.
Cook takes the title of his latest show, ‘Principles and Deceptions’ from a 1948 book of the same name by Arthur Buckley, which explains in detail the techniques and theory used by magicians. Cook performs a variety of tricks, from small-scale sleight of hand to Vegas-style spectacular feats. He quickly gets the audience on side with his incredibly dry, self-deprecating sense of humour. Most of his illusions rely on volunteers from the audience, giving them added authenticity.
Regardless of scale, all Cook’s tricks are equally impressive. Whether he is making his assistant vanish, or making coins appear from thin air, the audience were completely engrossed. There were audible gasps on genuine astonishment on more than one occasion. Highlights came when audience members became the subject of the tricks, such as when the details of one man’s love-life was contained in a letter, or when he made a lady’s shoe travel through space and time.
Given that most magic tricks have a pay-off of mere seconds, it’s extremely impressive that Cook has put together a consistently entertaining show. His charm and flawless delivery ensured a very entertaining evening, which resulted in the audience theorising how the tricks were done as they left the theatre. Simple answer; it’s magic.