Thu 8 Mar and Sat 17 Mar 2018
As part of Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2018
In the chilly if charming faded glamour of the Britannia Panopticon, Brandon Barrett begins the audience participation before the show when he asks three members of the audience to draw “something, anything – not too rude” on boards. In classic magician style these unseen doodlings will come into play later. That’s after Brandon has used cards, £10 notes, nails, a Stanley blade and loads of instances of making items disappear.
His magic talents are genuinely fun and impressive, with a wine bottle and even a glass being pulled out of thin air. “Do you like card tricks? You do now!” an audience member brought on stage is told, with the pack ultimately ending up thrown through the air as the original card is somehow grabbed. Whilst “nail in the face” feels slightly off, crude and rather pointless, the tricks take on a different edge during the “mentalisim section of the show”. Perception Without Awareness (PWA) is a neat summation of his seemingly impossible tricks, with the three unseen doodlings acting as a kind of mental lie detector.
Whilst his magic talents are endearing, Brandon’s comedic flair is somewhat mixed. Informing the audience that he is only fifteen years old, he is best when being lightly chiding and gently sarcastic (“Do you have any cuts on your hands?” he hopefully asks someone about to handle a cut open lemon). However, his swearing like a juvenile Malcolm Tucker feels jarring and forced, pushing proceedings into slightly uncomfortable waters. It’s a fine line between funny and insulting: the swearing sadly fails to tread this as it becomes a touch too caustic.
Bounding on and off stage and interacting confidently with the audience, Brandon overcomes some instances of the lighting and distance on stage obscuring what he is displaying with ease. The mic isn’t always used (which is strange as emphasis is placed on the ability of some people to hold it), leaving some asides difficult to pick up. Ultimately the show is a success; it’s just a shame his comedic style works against his magic skills at times as the latter are truly entertaining.