Edinburgh Fringe 2017
An impressive set of illusions and some intriguing mentalism from a master of the sleight of hand.
Bourbon Bar is heaving and packed with expectation as Caspar Thomas slips almost unnoticed onto the stage. Thomas’s apparently diffident demeanour, however, belies his skills as a magician and mentalist. His cleverly structured show began with an impressively executed illusion designed to grab audience attention and ended with one that built on a series of stunts in which audience members had been willing and active participants.
Clever stuff which, coupled with Thomas’s dry, droll, self-deprecating commentary, drew the audience in to the point where he had them eating, almost literally, out of his hand.
That opening illusion involved the apparent destruction of an impressively starched and clean handkerchief and was followed by one in which coins seemed to be appearing from his every orifice, then disappearing, only to re-emerge from some other part of his anatomy.
Thomas specialises in close-up magic involving day-to-day objects and his easy-going style means his audience is only too keen to volunteer to help out when required. One young admirer was duly hauled onto the stage for a whole series of tricks with a piece of rope that, no matter how many times he cut it, appeared to grow longer, rather than shorter. Others willingly stepped in to become part of an illusion where cards mysteriously passed between them with no apparent collusion on their part, or interference on the part of this very impressive yet nicely understated showman.
Whilst magic tricks formed the bulk of the performance, there was a brief diversion into mentalism which Thomas described to his now agog audience as the ability to make the impossible possible. In pursuit of this goal he attempted to attribute five personal objects placed into five sealed envelopes by five members of the audience to their true owner. Sure, this is a probability game – he’s a 20% chance of getting the first one right which are decent odds in their own right – but the panache with which he pulled off this part of the show brought deserved admiration from everyone in the room.
This was an impressive and entertaining piece of theatre, all the more so given the appalling lighting and booming noise leaking into the room from other shows going on in the venue. That neither disturbed Thomas’s composure is to his great credit. Well worth a look.