A new slant on magic
This article is from 2007.
Pete Firman wanted to bring the curtain down on Hokum by swallowing a packet of lit cigarettes and regurgitating them one by one. He couldn’t because of the smoking ban and they threatened to shut down all the Underbelly venues if he’d hacked up the £50 fine every night and done it anyway; so he does a bit with an egg and a sparkler, and gets the cheer anyway. This was one of Firman’s gentler moments, in a performance combining weird tricks and cocky panache.
Obsessed with freak shows from a young age, Firman puts a new and sometimes disturbing slant on magic. His tricks involve needles, balloons and the swallowing thereof, not run-of-the-mill card malarkey, and lots of participation from a dumbfounded audience. Sometimes, the question is not so much, ‘how?’ but, ‘why?’ Add a natty suit and smooth talking, and it’s little wonder his brand of entertainment is sucking in big audiences. Pete Firman is putting the pimp back in magic, and since words defy, you’d be advised to leave your skepticism at the door and see it to believe it. (Peggy Hughes)
Underbelly, 0870 745 3083, until 26 Aug, 7pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9).