Brighton Fringe 2016
“After 2 sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, Oliver returns to Brighton with his latest magical mash-up: a comedy magic show packed with mouth-watering, jaw-dropping tricks. Tummies will rumble, ribs will be tickled and gobs will be smacked.”
This is an hour in the company of a magician who, in the guise of a scientist, takes us on a comedic journey through food via some magic, mentalism and “wow” scientific visual feats. The comedy is never cruel and the audience participation never humiliating. This is a show you could take your older kids to, and there’s a lot of variety packed into the hour.
Oliver Meech is an amiable performer. He treats his own stage presence with a tongue-in-cheek mock-seriousness. Yes, there is science here, a man in a white coat, but there’s plenty of light-hearted banter and this warms the audience to the performer. ANd Meech is a warm performer which is a real virtue.
This is a magic show at its heart. The show is made of routines and set pieces, loosely based around observation of, and exploration of food. One or two of the tricks are pure science and physics. Others are closer to mentalism and one or two wouldn’t look out of place in a straight magic show.
Here’s the strength of the show – light comedy, blended with magic, mentalism and a bit of edutainment. This is a new show and sight-lines need to be worked out better. The show will bed in and it feels a bit tentative at the moment, especially when routines end. Sometimes it isn’t clearly enough that a set piece is over. So, as an early draft of a show, it shows a lot of promise but needs further tightening up. Pace is good and the material is interesting, engaging and often both funny and fascinating. Meech banters with his “techie” at the back and also chats easily with the audience whose attention and involvement is critical for the show to work. His early Magic and Science show achieved a better balance between science and the magic. Here the theme of food isn’t prominent enough.
The audience were clearly enjoying themselves. Many of the tricks required volunteers to come up to the stage and the routines were well crafted and often quirky for the right reasons. But the magic tricks need to be more tightly woven into the theme of the show. The “magic” is often far more present than the “food” which makes the “collision” a bit unbalanced. It’s at its best when the reason for the tricks is the food theme. It worked very well at the end when the entire audience was involved in an impressive finale trick.
Overall this was an enjoyable experience of a show at the beginning of its journey. I like seeing work in an early stage. Meech is bound to hone the material. As it stands I am happy to recommend it. This isn’t dark and intense magic – this is fun, educational in places, and certainly worth an hour of your time.