James Phelan: Troublemaker (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

James Phelan: Troublemaker

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Rising magical performer successfully leaves audiences dumbfounded

The former star of Britain's Got Talent arrives in Edinburgh for his debut appearance at the Fringe, bringing with him his hit magical prank show Troublemaker, which he has already toured around the country. You'd expect the nephew of the renowned TV magician Paul Daniels to have some tricks up his sleeve, but Troublemaker provides a slightly more modern take on the traditional, with twists on mind-reading, card magic and needle swallowing all present throughout.

As everyone files into the venue, sealed black envelopes are handed out with instructions not to open, the reason for which becomes apparent later in a particularly impressive feat of mind-reading. Making use of multiple members of the audience makes this a truly interactive experience for all, and those lucky enough to be chosen to join Phelan on stage are left visibly astounded by his skills, whether it be guessing phone numbers correctly or accurately reciting audience confessions from just a few random, unrelated words.

In this fast-paced show, Phelan barely skips a beat, performing trick after trick in quick succession, with regular participation from the audience and witty banter in between keeping things moving along. The grand finale, which involves an iPhone and a bucket of water, leaves everyone dumbfounded, verifying exactly why Phelan has been labelled as one to watch in the world of magic.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 26 Aug (not 14), 6.45pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50).

James Phelan: Troublemaker

  • 4 stars

The BBC Radio star hosts this magical prank show.