Barry and Stuart (4 stars)

Showing and telling their magical mysteries

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This article is from 2011.

Barry and Stuart

Be-suited Aberdonian purveyors of macabre magical comedy, Barry Jones and Stuart MacLeod have struck upon one hell of a gimmick. First comes The Show, filled with their favoured brand of slightly gory trickery and presented by the twosome with their usual genial hokey banter. In addition to escapology, mind-reading, plenty of card tricks and endangering a goldfish, there’s some nice interactive stuff with Facebook and Twitter (keep your phone on). Viewing also requires wearing red tinted glasses (issued at the door) and the duo invite the audience to remove these spectacles at will if they want to have ‘the truth’ revealed.

Baz and Stu have levelled up in venue size and excel in their larger pond, turning out a series of quirky feats in a highly entertaining, if slightly insubstantial, hour that’s lighter on the darkness than in previous years. But then comes The Tell. In a much more intimate venue next door, the boys risk exposing the secrets behind their tricks. It’s less a dry re-hashing of earlier events and more a show in its own right. They reveal their props and techniques as well as few extra surprises. As suits the later hour, things take a turn for the sinister, none more so than footage of them as spotty, teenaged magic geeks.

While most magicians spend their time trying to prove their veracity, it’s a change of pace to have Jones and MacLeod show off the hard work and learned skills that go into their act. Their respect for old-time magicians is palpable as they explain the history of certain tricks. Rather than coming across as a rude affront to the Magic Circle, they can’t resist inviting the audience to marvel at the hidden beauty of their acts, proving the magic is in the details.

Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 28 Aug, 10.15pm & midnight, £12–£14 (£11–£13) & £10–£12 (£9–£11).

This article is from 2011.

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