Barry & Stuart: Part-time Warlocks
Part-time warlocks, full-time fun
This article is from 2008.
It's hard to imagine Paul Daniels onstage with a joint that transforms into a gold chain, and there's no danger you'd have caught him magically turning a porn mag into a map of Iraq. Describing themselves as the 'anti-Paul Daniels of magic', these Aberdeenshire-born, London-living boys have given their take-the-breath-away magical skills a modern edge, with a very cheeky, charming, Scottish-flavoured brand of humour.
You might recognise the boys from their slot on Channel 4, where they terrified volunteers by acting out miracles performed by Jesus. It's a tough act to follow (the son of God, not Channel 4), but for their debut show on the Fringe, they've brought a double-whammy of very funny patter (mostly based on their affectionate feelings for Coldplay, and each other), sarcastic comedy inspired by Super Mario games and the Bible, and darkly brilliant magic. The wine into water trick has stayed in, plus they make sure there's not a closed jaw in the audience as they throw a fist through a stomach, pull out a Rubik's Cube that fixes itself, and produce bowling balls and Absinthe shots out of nowhere. Clumsy attempts to woo the ladies are also good value, and one girl blushes when Stuart tells her, in his best impression of a smooth operator, that she is, 'hot, like a kettle'.
Using Theremins, voodoo, razor blades, blood and pirates, this is a concentrated dose of stunning trickery and solid, no-fillers entertainment. They've done away with the glamour and hi-tech dazzle of old-school magic shows and replaced it with their creepy, geeky brand of macabre illusion. Barry & Stuart are pure magic, in the most Scottish sense of the word.
Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug, 10.20pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£8.50–£10.50).