It was 5pm as Bob and Stretchy sat in stagnant traffic on the M6 car park. Why, I hear you asking me in a “What is that idiot doing now?” kind of voice. Well simply put, those nice chaps over at Blackpool’s one and only Pleasure Beach invited us to watch their new show “Evolution of magic” and I was starting to sweat, thinking that I would be sat in this traffic forever and miss it. Slowly we crawled along, our sanity only saved by the odd bizarre thunderbirds style vehicle/ hippy bumper stickers and my epic music collection.... what do you mean you can’t follow body count with Tim McGraw and then follow that with p!nk.
Anyway you’re not here to listen to me whiter about m6 traffic, which luckily freed up around Warrington. Let’s get onto the show. We arrived at The Horseshoe Theatre having grabbed the fastest dinner ever at the Velvet Coaster (24 minutes to enter, order a burger and pint, for it to be cooked and us eat it is disturbingly fast).
I’ve never been in the Horseshoe Theatre before and was instantly taken by how intimate it was. Every seat in the place is within the distance I could toss a lightly scrunched up piece of paper. We were given a cool little booth on the lowest balcony which had excellent views of the stage.
So, before I start, I should point out that the last magic show I attended was in Las Vegas in a venue the size of a football pitch where a spandex and sequin clad Siegfried & Roy did bizarre vanishy and burney things with poor defenceless little pussy cats. (Go google). So, being a great cat lover myself I spent the whole of the Vegas show being concerned for their kittens. That memory was so overpowering that even now many years later, whilst entering The Horseshoe theatre, I was quite anxious that this show might be the same. My anxiety was totally unfounded. There was only one kind of animal in the show and that was the human kind. Oh and Craig’s pet Rat “Stinky” but I am sure I’ll mention that later.
The lights dimmed and the music erupted from the stage and the show started. The two magicians were introduced to us. Elizabeth, is the name everyone will have heard of, as she was on “Britain’s Got A Celebrities Brother In The Jungle With Matthew Kelly” or something like that and managed to scare one of the judges slightly too much. The other magician was Craig Cristian a name that neither Bob nor I had heard of.
The two magicians took it in turns, Craig was first doing some up close magic, making cards appear and vanish. They used the screens at either side of the stage to give everyone a close up view of what he was doing. And this is my biggest negative of the evening. The image quality on the screens wasn’t great, and I think it is simply a camera setting being wrong, as everything seemed too bleached most of the time. But the slight of hand and card manipulation was good. Some kids sitting near us gasped at each disappearance and reappearance.
Next up was Elizabeth, her magic style was much more grand with larger set magical pieces, and here’s my only other negative of the evening. She tries hard to engineer a sense of mystery and detachment, which, most of the time, works well. Unfortunately when she spoke she did a gentle calming voice, and, as one of the kids on the table so eloquently said, she sounds a bit bored. Mystical is a hard voice to do without an electronic voice changer and often the lack of speech it more mystical. Just look at Teller.
The show is split into 2 halves, with a short interval in the middle, perfect for grabbing another pint. Throughout the night the audience is invited to participate. Unlike a lot of these things they are also invited to video sections and post them on YouTube. Throughout the show, Craig had a brilliant patter, and even though the audience for our show was a bit lacking in energy, he did an excellent job of keeping me smiling. I have a feeling that he has been doing this kind of show for quite a while, and, to be honest, he was my favourite of the two. I value “banter”, and he was good at it. At one point he introduced us to his pet rat, Stinky. A name that the kids in the venue found hilarious. I was quite taken aback by their reaction and spent the next 15 minutes wondering what my cat, who is also known as “Stinky” would say if I told her people had thought her name was amusing.
A few of the tricks didn’t quite get the expected response, but as I have already mentioned, it was a harsh crowd of, what I found out were mainly local hoteliers, so that was to be expected. One or two of the tricks seemed badly paced, but once again that could have been an artefact of the lack lustre spectators.
The show ended with, what I, as an expert call, a boxy, flamey, squashy vanishy trick where Elizabeth made Craig disappear and reappear in the audience, which actually got a reasonably energetic round of applause.
On the whole it was a fun evening. The counterpoint of the 2 magical styles worked well. So was the magic up to the showmanship and grandeur of Siegfried and Roy, or the gruesomeness and professionalism of Penn & Teller. No. But it wasn’t rubbish either. If your in Blackpool south shore region and fancy a laugh, and some up close and extremely family friendly entertainment, then your ticket fee will be well spent. Just remember that this is Blackpool and your paying £10-£20 and not $150 a ticket and you will have a fun time.
Once again I’d like to thank the people for inviting us, we had a fun evening.
Elizabeth was on Britain’s Got Talent In 2019
Shows daily (except Monday’s) till 1st September 2019
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