Mysterious Moments of Magic
Sleight of hand show feels slight
A 'time-travelling Victorian magician', John Henry Blackwood certainly looks the part in his elegant three-piece suit. His show is well written and enjoyable, and he sets it up by pondering and demonstrating how our perception of time shifts as we age. Yet, his brilliant card tricks and mind-reading skills are not enough to sustain a show if he can't cope with drunken hecklers (one woman continually shouts out and whoops, and is not picked to come up on stage for that reason).
Despite being an amiable presence, with a calm and measured voice, he lacks some degree of showmanship. A stunt involving a telephone, a camera and guessing a Fringe show from this year's massive listing book is brilliantly rendered, as is the trick with cards and an old-fashioned looking camera which takes instant Polaroid snaps. And 'Madame Cynthia', a toy sink plunger, becomes an inanimate assistant of sorts in a trick involving making an entire deck of cards materialise from thin air.
You have to marvel at both the concept and execution. Blackwood is undoubtedly a clever and talented man, but perhaps just a little too conventional. Mysterious, certainly, indeed often utterly bamboozling, but the show just never feels theatrical or slick enough.
C nova, until 29 Aug, 7.30pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£7.50–£9.50).