Last Updated on November 4, 2021
Magic Goes Wrong is back with a new cast
Magic Goes Wrong is an Olivier nominated (Best Entertainment or Comedy) box office hit created by Mischief with Magic legends Penn & Teller. This season, it’s back with a new cast for a strictly limited run at the Apollo Theatre through to 27 February 2022.
The show follows a hapless gang of moderately skilled and accident-prone magicians put together by Sophisticato (Shane David-Joseph) as he hosts a fundraiser variety show in honour of his late father to raise funds for victims of magic disasters. As the show progresses, accidents spiral out of control and add more victims to magic disasters, which subsequently affects the fundraising figure.
Magic Goes Wrong is brought to you by Mischief Theatre, who have been joined for this venture by legendary American comedy magic performers Penn and Teller, stars of the hit ITV show Fool Us. Amongst the tomfoolery, there’s still some pretty impressive magic to be seen. The show is co-produced by Hollywood big shot JJ Abrams, directed by Adam Meggido with some top wizardry tips from the show’s magic consultant Ben Hart, and a suitable zany set designed by Will Bowen.
Mischief Theatre began when Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields met at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) in 2008, sharing a flat together, whilst also writing and making shows with fellow students Charlie Russell, Nancy Zamit and Dave Hearn, basically group of talented friends having a lot of fun. They took their first show to Edinburgh Fridge in 2008.
Mischief has gone on to build a theatrical empire, their first success ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, (a spin on backstage farce ‘Noises Off’) opened at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2012 costing just £300, eight years later it has become a rip-roaring triumph, which has not only taken residence at the Duchess Theatre in the West End but also an open-ended run on off-Broadway. Their other hits include ‘The Comedy About a Bank Robbery’, (at the Criterion), the less acclaimed ‘Groan Ups’ (previously at the Vaudeville) and a BBC1 TV show in the form of ‘The Goes Wrong Show’, these guys are on a roll. The Play That Goes Wrong returned after lockdown to the Duchess Theatre from June 2021 and is also on a UK tour alongside Groan Ups and Magic Goes Wrong.
The first act is from The Mind Mangler, played by Henry Lewis, who tries and continuously fails to perform various mentalist feats. The way he tries to frame his tricks as successful to cover up his shortcomings is really funny. Combined with errors from the teleprompter, some of his lines really get the audience cracking up. As a mind reader, he creates a stand-up comedy meets Faulty Towers vibe with the audience. When The Mind Mangler returns for subsequent acts, he returns with a “volunteer” who turns out to be his flatmate Mickey (Sydney K Smith). Mickey’s lack of showmanship is comically entertaining as he keeps messing up his pre-agreed dialogue and inadvertently reveals that he is a planted member of the audience to the audience. Amidst the comical errors, there are some amazing mentalism tricks to be seen.
The Blade (Kazeem Tosin-Amore) is a magician that specializes in dangerous feats. This is complicated by the fact that his assistant, Martina (Nancy Zamit) seems to enjoy seeing him in pain due to the fact that he thinks she is making too many mistakes. The emotionally charged dynamics between these two make each act seem more dangerous than it really is and leaves the audience a bit tense in their seats. Despite this, there are really impressive card tricks in the midst of the drama.
As an aspiring illusionist who wants to live up to his dad’s name, Sophisticato (Shane David-Joseph) also tries his hand at levitation and dove illusions. The dove illusions are technically performed successfully but the running gag is that he inadvertently kills all these doves in the process of performing the trick. Accidental tragedy seems to be the running theme as he also accidentally saws Eugenia (Genevieve Nicole) in half while demonstrating how a being sawn in half illusion works.
Finally, escapist mother and daughter duo Madame Escapade (Jane Milligan) and Peg (Louise Beresford) have unspoken family issues as Peg is roped into performing escape routines instead of studying law at Cambridge. The initial escape acts which brought about a loose bear and a handcuffing situation are not performed successfully, but as their relationship repairs, a really impressive escape act emerges from the duo.
So how will the show end? Will the show’s characters find emotional resolution as well as magical triumph? I guess you’ll just have to have a magically entertaining night out to find out.
Magic Goes Wrong is on at the Apollo Theatre through to 27 February 2022.
Magic Goes Wrong
London W1D 7EZ
Booking number: 0330 333 4809
Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 pm
Saturday at 2:30 pm
Sunday at 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Looking for something different – for our current pick of West End shows, check out The Play That Goes Wrong showing now at the Duchess Theatre and Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical showing now at The Lyric