Just like that! Magic at Theatre Severn

Peter Firman
Hoodwinker
The Walker Theatre
26/April/2013

I think the first thing one should clear up is the question, why didn’t Firman  just do twenty five minutes longer of his magic and not bother us  with his self-deprecating, unfunny comedian?  Firman did three spectacular slight of hand tricks and introduced to us a comedian who operating under a misnomer, stood there and spouted at us for 25 minutes. His mind was mercurial and he did have a definite style; one could see how he had created his comedy, but it seemed to me a bit of a miscalculation. His audience politely put up with it but there was a general sigh of relief when he stopped.

Firman himself was highly impressive. This was magic in its purest form. Where did that walking stick vanish to and how did he pour six different drinks out of one orange juice container? With breath-taking tricks and strong comedy banter this was a great show. We have had magicians in town before but this guy is super league.

Being star of BBC television’s The Magicians, Firman introduced theatre to a whole load of new people. “This is   a nice building,” was heard behind me, from one theatre newbie. The mean average age was around 30 as opposed to most shows where,   because of possible  fiscal inability, the mean average age would normally be fifty+   so it was good to see younger people there. More power to Theatre Severn elbow. The programme makers have excelled in their eclecticism and that is what is what the theatre should be doing. Good for them.

The show was at the tail end of a very long tour which had started back in January yet there was a real freshness  and it was carrying none of the usual baggage that end of tour shows have and appeared upbeat  and new. Firman was winning fans all the way; as if he needed to: the crowd was fairly partisan already.

His gift was communication. Relying on audience participation the volunteers were as excited as lemmings as they rushed up to be part of the show. It was a great way to keep us all engaged as we watched his volunteers  become more and more perplexed by what unfolded before them.

In the last hundred years we have seen the introduction of flight; we have watched men on the moon, we have made incredible advances in surgery and medicine and yet a man with a pack of cards and a few props can still take our breath away. It’s all about human nature and it is heartening to discover that the act of Magic is still viewed as something utterly bewildering. Well done Firman, keep us in that state and long may we still revel in the mysticism of your act. I would hate us all to become so blasé with everything that we lose the ability to be hoodwinked.

This is a three star review.

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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