'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Piff the Magic Dragon: Piff-tacular 2 Review

Piff the Magic Dragon: Piff-tacular 2

Piff nonchalantly strolls on stage to some crooner music, before calmly lighting a cigarette and getting into a quick fire magic routine: a few agile hand movements here, and a flick of the wrist there, and the fag disappears – only to reappear again on the other hand before finally ending up at the back of Piff’s throat. 

Piff is also a dragon. Here we should carefully consider Bilbo Baggins advice in ‘The Hobbit’: ‘never laugh at live dragons.’ Indeed Piff, with a face like a bucket of broken spanners, sees little to laugh about and resembles a younger Jack Dee in a bad circus costume. His humour is in a similar vein, and the flat cynicism and world weariness works well, at least initially.

All this is no bad thing; dragons doing card tricks are actually a rare sight these days. Yet while some of Piff’s magic is quite impressive, he has forgotten that, like comedy, magic is as much about delivery, anticipation and cleverly drawing out the bits before the punch line or puff of smoke. There are plenty of big magic acts at the Fringe who are no more technically skilled than Piff, but they tend to be better as entertainers. 

There are also several embarrassing moments, which are so bad they seem to leave the audience feeling worse than the performer. Indeed, this dragon needs to return to his lair and practice teasing his subjects before unleashing magic – not to mention trying to conjure up some sharper jokes. 

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