Andrew O'Neill's Black Magick Fun Hour (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Andrew O'Neill's Black Magick Fun Hour

A bewitching hour which forces audiences to question their worldview

Andrew O'Neill spells magick with a 'k', so you know he's serious. Any remaining doubt is dispelled when he begins the show in rams' horns, swinging a censer of incense and intoning an invocation. He asks the gods Mercury, Hermes and Thoth to inspire him to write a great Fringe show and proceeds to explain for 60 minutes how magic manifests in daily life.

At first bewildering – O'Neill fires one-liners, unaccompanied punchlines, musical interludes and very old references at a blistering pace – he uses his intelligence and eloquence to combine anecdotes about his wife, musings on the power of words, absurd imagery, nods to his metal-headedness, and excavations of what makes comedy work to induce an incantatory state of near-constant laughter.

Not many comedy shows, especially ones in which a practitioner of the occult sings songs about his cat, prompt the audience to re-examine their worldviews and theories of knowledge. O'Neill accomplishes this while remaining gut-bustingly funny throughout. Mercury is also the god of commerce and profit, which bodes well for O'Neill's bank balance, though it would be a shame not to give the man himself the credit for this bewitching, beguiling and bombastic hour.

Liquid Room Annexe, until 27 Aug (not 21), 5pm, free.

Andrew O'Neill's Black Magick Fun Hour – Free

  • 4 stars

Andrew O'Neill / PBH's Free Fringe Award-winning comedian off telly and radio dabbles in the occult. What happens when you invoke Mercury, trickster god of the spoken word? A show that's 'absolutely hilarious' (Neil Gaiman). Highly anticipated return of a Fringe favourite. Off Buzzcocks, Saxondale and his own BBC Radio 4…