Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Morgan And West: A Grand Adventure

Morgan and West are time-travelling, Victorian magicians and all-round good eggs. I had the pleasure to catch a clip of their act last year in Edinburgh at the fantastic Forth On The Fringe and so, while wandering the High Street with my daughter a few days ago, was delighted to take one of their cards and find out that they had a show on that very afternoon. I bought tickets and killed some time until my daughter and I headed along to enjoy an hour of magic, thrills and comedy.

Let me start by saying how much I enjoy the style of Morgan and West. They are both likeable, witty and talented men. All-round good eggs, funnily enough. A Grand Adventure sees disaster strike the pair when they lose their big book of secrets and have to travel to the ends of the earth, facing many dangers along the way, to recover it. The story, and the humour contained in many of the set-pieces, is a delight and the staging is perfect - the duo making the most of a sparse set that has all they need while easily setting the scene for imaginative audience members. The magic, unfortunately, isn't always such a delight.

An opening sequence about misdirection and manipulation is a real treat, clever and funny and very impressive, but it's a highlight in a show that constantly fails to dress up the simple mechanics on display in, ironically, a more distracting fashion.

I am neither as talented or dexterous or as smart as these gentlemen, but I knew how a number of the bigger effects were achieved (especially a lengthy routine that involved Mr. Morgan tied up in a sack, but also most of the teashop trickery) and there were some that I didn't even care about by the time of the reveal. Yes, sirs, I'm on about the cracking of the safe.

I'm not saying that the show was bad, because it wasn't, but I was saddened by the fact that many of the tricks were based on principles so simple that I'd read up on them as a teenager. Thankfully, the humour and quirky nature of the characters makes up for a lot. There's also a superbly funny bit involving lots of sugar, an impressive encounter with a famous thief and some fun audience participation (note: if you don't want to be involved then don't sit in the first few rows).

I encourage people to see Morgan And West, despite my average rating for this show, and I'd also encourage people to buy one of their tea towels (they do sell them, they may even mention it during the show), but I know that they are capable of much finer magic than the tricks used in A Grand Adventure. The fact that many moments do, however, feel like a grand adventure is jolly spiffing indeed. Remember their names and be sure to catch them at least once when/if they perform at a venue near you.


Tickets can be bought here and more information on Morgan & West can alwas be found here.

image: morganandwest.co.uk

n.b. - all ratings for live shows use the standard 5-star system

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