Jerry Sadowitz (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Jerry Sadowitz

Consistently brilliant illusions and a furiously passionate performance

While it would be misleading to say Jerry Sadowitz has calmed down, he’s certainly mellowed somewhat over the years. Saying that, you’d have your work cut out to find a more controversial comedian at this year’s Fringe, with frequently eye-watering comments on Oscar Pistorius, Stuart Hall and the current political turbulence in Egypt.

But first and foremost this is a magic show from one of the world’s greatest practitioners, and Sadowitz’ sleight-of-hand work is absolutely spellbinding. This year his bugbear is Dynamo who Sadowitz persistently berates for being an image-obsessed one-trick pony. In emphasis of their differing styles, Sadowitz furiously sweats around the stage, setting up a procession of tricks with playing cards, dice, coins and other ephemera. In fact for all his pomp and bluster, this is a very traditional set, albeit one played out by a genuine master.

Sadowitz occasionally dabbles in audience participation and, whereas most comedians gratefully accept help from a game audience member, Sadowitz harbours no such pretensions. When an Irishman is invited to join him onstage Sadowitz has no qualms laying into the volunteer with trademark vitriol. And a tall man is subjected to biblical levels of fury for having the audacity to sit near the front. This frisson is what drives a Sadowitz gig and there appears to be no danger of him losing his edge. For a magician to pull off so many consistently brilliant illusions is one thing, but the real trick here is successfully fusing it with a frequently hilarious, often jaw-dropping, furiously passionate performance.

Jerry Sadowitz: Card Tricks and Close Up Magic

Brushing aside his reputation for the offensive, Sadowitz is also an amazing magician and king of the sleight-of-hand.