ComedyMagicNorth East & YorkshireReview

Magic Goes Wrong – Leeds Grand Theatre

Reviewer: Ruth Jepson

Written by: Penn Jillette, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields and Teller

Directed by: Adam Meggido

Featuring “flashing lights, a live bear, and a quantity of glitter some may find offense” Leeds Grand Theatre welcomes a full, finally not socially distanced, house to Magic Goes Wrong, the hotly anticipated 2019 show from Mischief Theatre (the folk who brought you The Play That Goes Wrong) in collaboration with famously anarchic real life magicians Penn and Teller.

The show invites the audience into an evening where traditional stage magician Sophisticato (Sam Hill) is throwing a ‘Disasters in Magic Charity Fundraiser’ following the untimely death of his father, the original Sophisticato. With a chip on his shoulder, new Sophisticato hosts four other magical acts, each with a varying degree of success and professionalism. All the stereotypes are covered from struggling psychic, through bad boy danger magic and European double act, with a side order of washed up assistant and the odd black clad stage hand to boot.

Chaos inevitably ensues.

The real joy of Magic Gone Wrong is in gradually realising that in going wrong, the magic is generally going right. The doves being ‘dead’ don’t make their appearance any less magical, and an accidental human death or two still has enough pizazz to get a laugh and a cheer. This show isn’t just slapstick stupidity – although there is of course a lot of that thrown in.

For anyone who has ever seen a Penn and Teller show, some of the tricks may be a little familiar, although no less enjoyable for it. The end of Act 1 mimics a fantastic routine of theirs, which Hill pulls off with guile and clueless flair. And all the acts are parodies anyway – Kiefer Moriarty’s The Blade is a wonderfully funny send up of the Chris Angels of the magic world for example. Local references are peppered in naturally, which really helps to make the whole event seem like a real magic fundraiser rather than a play. Which is why the slightly saccharine and soppy ending feels a little jarring unfortunately, as it reminds the audience that they are not actually watching a Vegas extravaganza (well, a Skegness extravaganza maybe). Some of the running gags are also overused, like the ever tampered with teleprompter upsetting The Mind Mangler (David Nellist), and there is an ill advised gay joke in an otherwise completely inoffensive show (depending on your attitude towards the aforementioned amount of glitter).

Overall, Magic Goes Wrong is exactly what the world has come to expect from Mischief Theatre – comedic, chaotic, and wickedly hilarious.

Runs until 4th September

The Reviews Hub Score


The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. I enjoyed this show because it was recommended to me and I think it’s great fun, wonderful too.
    the cast, acting was great as well then I saw some amazing stunts.
    I think that the costumes were brilliant because I liked the design off it.
    it was a great show because my PA have told me look at the reviews and so I did, I think that the point off views were actually good, I feel like that I’ve been amazed by the stunts in the show.
    my favourite character is blade because he was so handsome, knows every danger and I like his hair style too.
    I just can’t believe my eyes oh my gosh I saw Daniel Anthony because I recognise him from Sarah Jane adventures,
    I did wanted to rise my hand up to volunteer on the stage with whom was asking someone to come and join.
    for me because I wanted to but it was too late cos I wasn’t lucky to, an audience plant goes up anyway.
    there were lots of amazing stunts and good slapstick too, I think that the whole show was so exciting also fun, magical as well.
    I don’t think it was that gory or offensive at all because in the show it is just fake cos doesn’t look real.
    it is still a fun, spectacular day for me there in the theatre watching the show and I think it was an interesting performance.
    I liked the beautiful artwork on the ceiling in the inside off the theatre when me and nixie sat down.
    I tried to get comfy but the seat was actually wooden behind which isn’t comfortable.
    the show was still amazing so yeah it’s so fun great show

Back to top button