Fake Magic – Norfolk and Norwich Festival

I returned to the Adnams Spiegeltent for a second show this year – the intriguing Fake Magic.

Curated by magician Vincent Gambini “Fake magic is a unique show featuring some of the most daring, alternative and cutting edge magicians working in the UK today.

This was the first time I had been to the Spiegeltent for anything other than a circus show, so it was brilliant to see the versatility of the space. I somehow managed to end up with and end of row Danger Seat ( click here to read about Danger Seats) but luckily remained safe throughout the performances.

Fake Magic consisted of 5 acts, with 4 magicians. Gambini was this evenings compare and lead the show fluidly, introducing each magician. He filled time with funny banter and slight of hand tricks that still makes my brain ache trying to figure out how.

The whole premise for this evenings show was to get the audience to look at magic in another way. That its not all bunny’s in hats and sawing girls in half. That it is theatre and art too.

The acts Gambini chose were all very different.

The first up (and then 4th up) was magician and mime artist Richard McDougall who treated us to a fun act all around slight of hand and comedy. He was a delight to watch – super engaging without even saying a word.

In his second performance later in the evening he talked to us about the work he does with BREATH MAGIC – a charity that works with young people using magic to help improve mental and physical health. He was fascinating to listen to – demonstrating a simple (aka still mind blowing) magic trick that they use to help improve dexterity. It was a lovely way to see how the arts are used not just for commercial gain!

Next up was Tim Bromage. (In this performance he was ) a masked welsh performer who mixed slight of hand and traditional magic with music and folk stories. Whilst you couldn’t see his face the music and story within his performance drew the audience in.

I would definitely be interested in seeing a longer show to see what he can really do- this was such a short glimpse into his talents and interesting way of combining them.

As we entered the Spiegeltent we were given an envelope with some playing cards in. This was all to do with the third act – Jeanette Andrews.

Andrews was not in Norwich. In fact she was in America. Her act consisted of a video giving us some information about historical magical illusion, and the posting of magic boxes. She wanted to bring back the respect that magic had in the 1800s, of it being an art form. Andrews is a well respected sensory illusionist with a calming voice- who lead the entire audience through a card trick that she managed to predict the answer too, even though she was thousands of miles away.

( Apart from the lovely older gentleman next to me, who realised that during the card trick he spelt something wrong and ended up with a different number – much to the amusement of our entire row!)

The final act really brought the theatrical to the evening.

Tom Cassani describes himself as a Performance Artist and a Liar. He really brought an almost sinister element to the evening, with storytelling that questions reality as you watch him. It was definitely a different way of looking at magic – harking back to the old days of sideshows and circus big tops. You could feel the intensity rising in the audience as you just had no idea what he was going to do!

Fake Magic was not what I was expecting – but in a good way!

It’s not a flashy look at what magic is, but a good look at what magic can be!

And I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve!


Ticket gifted for reviewing purposes, but production choice, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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