The Expert at the Card Table
This article is from 2008.
Never play cards with Guy Hollingworth. Concentrate as you may, those hands are too darned quick. As the crafty conjurer exhibits his prodigious talent at card chicanery, he employs an affable Englishness Hugh Grant would be proud of to relay the life stories of childhood friends Milton Andrews and Samuel Erdnase, pioneers of card-sharping, and writers of the book upon which this show is based.
On a simple turn-of-the-century set, which resembles a Baker Street front room, Hollingworth sets about etching a permanent, and frankly painful, grin of disbelief and awe on the faces of his audience as he performs card tricks that would stump even the great Holmes. Weaving the stories of Andrews and Erdnase through his act with amiable humour and Biography Channel-style delivery is commendable, but it's Hollingworth's tremendous skill and application that truly holds the attention. Each move of the hand is scrutinised via the close-up displayed on the hanging television, allowing the chance to marvel at the level of devotion required to achieve such proficiency. If cards were a religion then Hollingworth would undoubtedly be the Zen master, inspiring those who see him to attain a level of excellence that few will ever reach.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug, (not 11, 18), 3.35pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).