Chris Dugdale: 2 Faced Deception (1 star)

This article is from 2012.

Chris Dugdale: 2 Faced Deception

Overly slick presentation with rehashed tricks

If you haven’t caught a whiff of Chris Dugdale’s act before, his opening gambit may well blow you away. Unfortunately, if you have seen it, you’re in for a tedious introductory ten minutes, as he rehashes his most famous work over again (and then, through the tacky medium of his showreel, yet again). There are a few scattered moments of truly impressive trickery, but Dugdale’s smarmy persona, McIntyrean gurning and insistence on wringing two rounds of applause from every reveal effectively douse any sparks of wonderment. His glossy promo brochures and Vegas-y persona single out an act at odds with the ephemeral Spirit of the Fringe – we like a magician with a bit of genuine character round these parts.

Chris Dugdale's 2 Faced Deception

  • 1 star

Middleton Enterprises. From ITV's Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and his critically-acclaimed West End show of magic and mind control, experience the cheek and charm of Dugdale's devious deceptions. 'More jaw-dropping in the first 20 minutes than two hours and 20 minutes of Derren Brown's Svengali' ( 'A…


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2. Elliot11 Aug 2012, 7:36am Report

@ Niki Boyle - I think this was a brilliant show, and was presented very well as a magic show. The visuals were not tacky and were very well done, and the show as a whole was constructed very well, with a start, middle and end.

There were gasps of astonishment , and large round of applause's from the audience after tricks had climaxed and there seemed to be a real buzz after the show.

I really don't understand how you can have a show that is too polished - performers work hard on their act, and I can see from watching the show that Chris and his team have put a lot of work and practice into it.

I personally feel that it's a disgrace to give it 1 star as the show I saw was definitely an amazing 5 star show!

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4. Jonno9919 Aug 2012, 3:47pm Report

This review is an inslut to phil jay.

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9. Niki at The List21 Aug 2012, 5:16pm

Wow - a lot of points raised here, and I'm glad to see so many Fringe-goers enthusiastic about a show, even if I'm not. Since there's been such a thorough backlash, I'll try and address the main points raised.

Fiona Mac, Elliot and Ashley J:
My problem with Chris Dugdale's show was not that it was polished and professional (see my four star review of Pete Firman [] for an example of a show that is precisely that) - it's that Dugdale himself offered us no trace of a personality, instead aiming to be a shiny totem of showbiz glamour. The glossy brochure and the mid-show highlight reel (which basically consisted of a recap of the trick he had just shown us live) reinforced the impression that I was being sold a product. A look at Dugdale's website [] (which carries logos of all the corporations he's proudly entertained) doesn't do him any favours in this department either. When I go to a Fringe show, I want what I'm watching to be the end product, rather than an appeal to potential investors.

Maria7 and V Young:
Aside from Dugdale's persona (or lack thereof), my main problem with the show was repetition of material. The first trick was already shown on national TV, as part of Penn & Teller's Fool Us; it was also highlighted in an article Dugdale wrote for The List just one week before []; it was also repeated on-screen immediately after Dugdale had completed it; it was also harked back to every 10 minutes or so when Dugdale interacted with his projection screen. His 'wooing' of a female audience member (with undeniably tacky sound effects) I found, frankly, sleazy and uncomfortable, and fork-bending stopped being cool with Uri Geller (if indeed it ever was).

As for putting off people with my scathing review - good. That's what it's there for. My job as a reviewer is not to make Fringe acts feel warm and rosy about coming here, but to advise readers on which shows I think are worth seeing, and which aren't worth wasting time on.

Sarah Kay:
If you have issues with the spelling of my name, please take it up with my parents. God knows I have.

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14. Donald Nammer24 Aug 2012, 10:32am Report

If I disagreed with a review (and Lord knows I often do) I'd probably chalk it up to a difference in taste. I might take the time to offer a quick rebuttle along the lines of, "I really enjoyed the show." I'm surprised that people who have no link to this show (not friends, family or crew) would take the trouble to write wordy vociferous personal insults at the reviewer. Since these people are not friends, family or crew I'm surprised they're so angry.

15. Elliot24 Aug 2012, 10:45am Report

@Niki , Congratulations , you seem to have won an award at the Fringe this year!

Ian Rowland is a professional UK and US writer, and a very respected magician. Please see his comments below on your review:

"Edinburgh Fringe Awards #4.
Worst Case Of Ignorant Reviewer Abuse: Chris Dugdale, '2 Faced Deception'.

Chris James Dugdale and his hard-working crew put together a brilliant show for the Fringe. The show, which has already enjoyed very successful sell-out runs in London and elsewhere, has high production values and genuinely tries to bring something new and innovative to the notion of a magic show.

Unfortunately the show was massacred by the critics, who were not content to just award it 1 and 2 star reviews but also seemed determined to assassinate Chris's character and send him weeping into the arms of the nearest therapist.

This was, in my opinion, a travesty. It was not only massively unfair to Chris, but also unfair to the many Fringe-goers who WOULD have enjoyed the show, and been astonished by the many very clever twists and turns involved, if they hadn't been dissuaded by the critics and their ignorant jibes. To be sure, there's a lot of rubbish on at the Fringe that richly deserves damning reviews and thin audiences. This show was not one of them.
Was it a perfect show? No. Was it the best magic show I saw? No. But at the very least, Chris and his team deserve some respect and praise for what they put together, and even the harshest critic should have put this in the '3 star' bracket. A great shame, and a shining example of irresponsible critics hurting what they ought to be praising."

Congratulations once again Niki!

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