The Vanishing Man (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

The Vanishing Man

A comic yet poignant play about the power of magic

Things get a bit meta in The Vanishing Man: a play about a magic show that is itself about the greatest magic trick ever created, when Edwardian Hugo Cedar disappeared forever on a London bridge in front of a crowd of people. Created by Simon Evans (twice Close Up Magician of the Year) and David Aula, the pair perform as a magician and his close friend and collaborator.

The play is told through a series of flashbacks, with both actors also narrating. Audience members are called on to play supporting roles to great comic effect, with lines fed to them by David and Simon. The charismatic pair are excellent in their management of the audience cast they've created: correcting and cajoling us to maintain the momentum they're driving forward – but it's inevitable that there are slight dips in the pace.

For those who delight in the rush of live magic, The Vanishing Man contains truly glorious sleight of hand and thrilling magic reveals. It even breaks the magician's golden rule and reveals the workings behind a few of the tricks. Some of the script wanders into the stauncher magic fan territory as the plot becomes more complex, before a surprisingly poignant turn drills right to the core of our desire to believe in real magic.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 13), 2.10pm, £9.50–£13 (£8.50–£12).

The Vanishing Man

  • 3 stars

“I’ve been able to work out, deconstruct and rebuild every trick I’ve ever seen. Except this one.” Hugo Cedar was an Edwardian magician known as The Vanishing Man; he created the perfect trick and then disappeared forever, but his story lives on… Directors and performers Simon Evans (magical consultant to the National…