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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Spellbinder: Magic and Mystery

Renz Novani

Genre: Magic and Mentalism

Venue: Spotlites at Merchant Hall


Low Down

Renz Novani manages to spellbind his audience with suggestion, illusion and a neat little show that has card tricks and a finale to leave you gasping. This is not only a magician but a poet of the impossible who has the ability to work his magic by words as well as deeds. 


Renz begins with an impressive card trick. He also asks us to get into the spirit of what he does. There are none who want to avoid that. From the cards he then asks us to write down names, dates of birth and a wish for later. He then gives us a demonstration of mind manipulation through telling us what he predicted we would do with numbers and the like. He returns to cards, this time Tarot. With a willing audience member he then stuns us with revealing her partner’s nick name. Returning to those cards with wishes he stuns many by reading them without opening them. His finale adds in some personal reflection before he stuns with an illusion worth seeing – I won’t spoil your pleasure.

Renz is an engaging presence – you need that in magic. What you also need is a half decent script. Renz has that – but it is only half decent. It needs tidied and to be more structured when outside of the illusions. What was remarkable was how he was able to recover when two of his first willing audience members seemed to forget the cards they had chosen!

It is him that is therefore the big selling point here. Of course as someone who drove to Carlisle to see Derren Brown (twice) this is right up my street but I need more and so does everyone else as that bar has been raised. From Dynamo we have also seen the illusions here on a bigger scale but perhaps not so close up.

At the running time of about 45 minutes it means that you are left wanting more rather than it being spun out beyond comprehension. It makes the script issue for me a bit more powerful but when Renz gets into illusion mode there is nowhere to look but at him. He draws you in and keeps you there.

The setting was all that it should be with a table and some chairs and plenty of darkness and velvet. I believe that it won’t be long before we become more aware of this young illusionist from Glasgow and I, for one, will be trying to book front row seats –as I had here. The illusions are the stars here but the man behind them has a commanding presence that deserves greater attention.