Piff the Magic Dragon
A laconic but jaw-dropping set
This article is from 2011.
It’s not enough these days for a magician to simply get up there on stage and do some jaw-dropping trick. A gimmick is always an added extra and in John van der Put’s case, he’s chosen to dress like a dragon, give himself a suitably puntacular name and, in his most daring twist yet, have a Chihuahua called Mr Piffles to occasionally help him out with the magic. Indeed, Mr Piffles is integral to the show’s astonishing climactic illusion while throughout the hour providing much in the way of an ‘awww’ factor for those in the audience with a soft spot for The Cute.
Where Put/Piff separates himself from the conjuring crowd (whether it’s the old school reverie of Paul Daniels or the blackly magical Barry and Stuart) is that his patter lays well off the cheese and is actually worthy of a comedy show. While there’s also some knockabout fun with his glamorous but relentlessly miserable work-experience assistant, the joy of Piff is firmly lodged in the wonderfully impressive tricks and the amusing, laconic way he deals with the ones that go awry. He may announce the cost of his props but an hour with Piff the Magic Dragon is priceless.
The Store, 556 5375, until 28 Aug, 6.40pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).