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Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Magicians Do Exist

Chris Cresswell

Genre: Physical Theatre


Pleasance Dome


Low Down

A celebration of the work of one of the world’s greatest clowns, Jacques Tati. This is a lovely way to start the Edinburgh day. it is gentle, genuinely funny. Helps you smile and feel better about the world. Do yourself a favour and get along.


Inspired by the wonderful animation film "The Illusionist"  (itself based in Edinburgh), this show is a celebration of the clowning of Jaques Tati. Tati was one of the great clowns and film makers.

The premise of the show is simple. Chris Cresswell is giving an illustrated talk on Jacques Tati, with extracts from the original films. The projecter fails, so Cresswell has to act out the clips himself, though not actually on his own, as he invites and involves the audience to produce sound effects via a series of simple devices: a pair of rubber gloves being shaken, a pencil tapped on the hardcover of a book, crisp packets scrunched up. Simple. Beautifully simple.
The show focuses on the work and the films of Jacques Tati. Tati’s films are classics of their kind, and this show reminds you why. It is the apparent simplicity of the whole thing which makes it all work, though underneath that apparent simplicity are a set of acute observations about we humans and the way we behave. Tati was himself one of the world’s great clowns, and Cresswell does a good job in helping us to remember why. Cresswell’s mime skills are those of a fan and serious student of Tati.
Cresswell himself makes a good clown. He has the stylised movements, the wonderfully expressive faces, the physical gestures of an art form which may have been overshadowed in this country, but is still delighting people across the world. Physical theatre as it used to be,. It’s a place where street theatre meets theatre of the indoors.
With help from a few of his friends, Cresswell is developing a show which will be superbly honed by the end of this Edinburgh run. It is comedy as it used to be. Gentle, funny, clever. Makes fools of us all, and makes us all feel better for so doing.  
Get a ticket (a lot cheaper than therapy) and enjoy yourself. You will walk out smiling. You will feel genuinely uplifted. And the world will feel a better place. Can’t ask for more really.