At the Illusionist's Table
- Rowena McIntosh
- 14 August 2017
Immersive performance that will leave you questioning your free will
The format of At the Illusionist's Table stands out from the majority of Fringe shows. It's two and a half hours rather than the standard 60 minutes, includes a three course meal and whisky, and has a grand venue – the Scotch Malt Whisky Society – all to itself. Here, we are not an anonymous audience watching the performance from the dark. Instead 12 people are seated with illusionist Scott Silven around a lavish candlelit table.
Silven is a warm and welcoming host, who seems genuinely delighted to be in our company. He eases us into the evening with a number prediction routine before moving onto mind reading using playing cards. Acknowledging that this is done through vocal and facial clues, he steps it up a notch, planting images in our heads.
When Silven leaves the room between courses, the group marvels at the illusions and ponders their workings, and it feels like a collective experience. The addition of whisky tasting to proceedings initially feels a bit forced but Silven ties the smoky aromas of the spirit with a visualisation.
The combination of food, drink, flickering candlelight and Silven's dulcet tones gives this performance an immersive edge. A routine based on word association is brilliantly clever and his final flourish will leave you asking if any of your choices were really the result of your own free will.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society, until 27 Aug (not 19 or 21), 7pm, £69.