It’s a difficult thing to create an entire thought-provoking one-man show from what is essentially just a handful of magic tricks but Vincent Gambini shows enough potential in The Chore of Enchantment to make him a worthwhile pick for a pre-dinner Edinburgh Fringe show (he will perform at the Underbelly at 5.45pm every night at this year’s Fringe).
His sleight of hand is mesmerising as he seemingly plucks objects from thin air and cards from a deck and he ties it all together in metatheatrical fashion, hypothesising on whether or not magic is worthwhile in a world which all too often is filled with grave news stories. He is right to question of course, but at times there is too much focus on the monologue and not enough on the magic. He delves into politics, environmental concerns and celebrity deaths, each worthy of comment in their own right, but perhaps there is a better time and place for such ponderings – after all, his skill is quite clearly in the magic.
Alongside his “how-the-hell-did-he-do-that?” trickery what he does have in his favour is the ability to be at ease with the audience which many performers lack and a light-hearted air which gets enough laughs to keep the show bubbling along. He draws the audience in, pokes some fun and has enough crowd engagement to make him appealing.
Audiences demand more and more from their performers these days; with over 3,000 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, people are becoming ever more discerning about their choices. It is important, therefore, that you are not just a man that does tricks but that you are a man that can entertain, evoke laughter and perform tricks all in a seamless production. If Gambini can find the right balance between talk and trickery he may just have a magic formula to pull audiences in this year.