Mischief Theatre are back in Scotland with their UK Touring production of ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ which is currently playing Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ follows a hapless gang of magicians as they stage an evening of grand illusions to raise cash for charity. But as the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control and so does their fundraising target!
Rory Fairbairn is hilarious as The Mind Mangler, his deadpan delivery of lines and “mind bending magic” is side-splittingly funny. Sam Hill provides great energy and farcical comedy as Sophisticato, perhaps at some points it can be too manic for the audience to actually understand what is going on, but nonetheless, this is an entertaining portrayal. Kiefer Moriarty comes in hot as the blade, a clear nod to David Blaine. There are some parallels there but unfortunately, the character fails to raise any real danger and the comical nuances that are designed to parody Blaine are delivered way too quickly for the audience to digest.
Daniel Anthony’s energy and humour is fantastic, he supplies the best presence in the cast, it is just a shame that his character, Mickey (or Brian), is underused and there isn’t a strong storyline provided. Valerie Cutko as Eugenia provides some gravitas to this young bunch of magicians, however once again this is a character that seems underused, and is the butt of a pointless joke.
Jocelyn Prah as Spitzmaus and Chloe Tannenbaum as Bär supply fantastic energy, hilarious and whimsical magic routines. Plus, they are just gloriously mental which the audience love.
Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields pen ‘Magic Goes Wrong’, previously Mischief have produced theatre greats such as ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’, however this latest installment feels off brand and directionless for them. The narrative for ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ is very flimsy and pulls in undesirable flat characters compared to what we have seen before from Mischief, therefore expectations are not met for those expecting the usual Mischief magic. Moments of brilliance such as Mind Mangler’s hysterical failures to read the audience’s minds are milked to the point where the audience are bored. The Blade has the potential to be a daredevil who is a failure, but instead is almost irritating and the “magic” sequences are flat leaving the audience neither impressed or laughing. There are fun moments in there and those moments are on-brand for Mischief, but the majority of this production lets great gags go on for too long or the gags/magic are very predictable.
Adam Megiddo’s direction for this production is not lacking in energy, and he does well to prompt the right reaction from the actors, the major issue is pacing for this production, everything is just too quick for the audience to digest, unless it’s a gag then it goes on for way too long. Will Bowen’s set design is fantastic for this production, complemented by David Howe’s dazzling lighting design.
Overall, ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ is not the usual theatrical magic expected with Mischief, there are moments of hilarity that give the audience a hint of the company’s usual stints; however, this production does not live up to Mischief’s renowned genius.
Tickets are available for ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ from the below link: