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March 14, 2012 / magickittenblogs

Paul Daniels at The Mercury – you’ll like it (but not) a lot

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Paul Daniels. He’s been around since… Well, actually, when hasn’t he been around? When I was little, I used to watch his magic show on a Saturday early evening. I’m not sure what my parents thought of it, but I loved all the puzzles and tricks. I even had my own magic set.

Fast-forward 20 years or so… Paul Daniels appeared on stage again last night at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, on his ‘Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow’ tour, ably assisted as always by The Lovely Debbie McGee (TM). If we ignore (please!) the interlude with the bizarre stand-up, whose name I’ve already forgotten, it was a great evening.

Paul kicked off with some simple, traditional tricks, the sort of things we’ve all seen before but haven’t quite worked out – joining two ropes, tearing then unfolding an untorn newspaper. Not particularly spectacular perhaps but intriguing nonetheless. Then it was time for a bit of audience participation. Rosie, aged 12, was excellent – she was nervous at first but then relaxed as she helped Paul with the Chinese joining rings trick. She mostly remembered to say “Yes Paul!” in the right places, and there was also a chance for a bit of Eric-Morcambe-esque collar-grabbing when she went off piste, response-wise. Then, the big trick to end the first half – levitation. Rosie floated in the air, on a ‘flying carpet’ over a floating board. This really did look great. We were looking at Paul straight on and it really was impossible to see how it was done. Of course, it could just be magic…

In the second half, we had a bit of cup-and-ball sleight of hand, saw a real life bunny (Hopper Seven), then had some grown-up audience members up on stage – Dan and poor old Jonathan, the least willing volunteer I’ve ever seen. They helped with some disappearing/reappearing cards and cash, some mind-reading, hypnotism (Derren Brown, eat your heart out!) and even a death-defying stunt. I think I probably enjoyed this so much at least partly due to the schadenfreude of watching Jonathan the solicitor squirm; wonderful.

I really did have a great evening out – Paul has definitely still got it. He was really funny too – sweet banter with Debbie, funny quips and one-liners, and a even a quick chat with the audience, during the second half, where he told us about how his fingers were doing after that accident a month or so ago. BF had a great time – he’s really into magic – and even got his programme signed by Paul and Debbie after the show. If you get a chance to see this, do go – it’s totally worth it (but email Paul afterwards and tell him not to book the awful stand-up again).

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