Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Ironically there’s very little control in this magic show, Chris Cook announces as he steps on stage. It’s a fair point given the amount of audience interaction the Lake District native relies on for his tricks.

From the first moment, Cook’s involving the audience, making them laugh while he poses for photos. He’s humble and welcoming to the packed out crowd, producing nuggets of amazement with precision. His demeanour is warm and when calling on volunteers he’s very reassuring that nothing bad is going to happen to them. It does make you wonder what’s happened in other magic shows that calls on this reassurance.

However, what Cook pulls out is enthralling. And not dangerous or humiliating, despite going all William Tell on one audience member. One particularly intriguing trick uses playing cards, as “every magician needs to have a card trick”. It’s astounding to say the least and many oohs and aahs escape the packed crowd. An attire stunt produces a similar reaction later on. It’s a reaction the crowd gets used to.

Weaving through the show are statistics pumped out by a voiceover. Cook bases some of his stunts on these, often with elements of control intertwined. While there doesn’t appear to be a huge amount of consistency between what statistics were chosen for the audio there a definitely a few “huh!” moments.

As Cook has said before, you can’t just be a magician, you need to be something else to create a show. In this instance, Cook’s part stand-up comic and part magician. He’s delightfully funny, earning appreciative chuckles all round, particularly with some political-laden quips. An arrow through a politician’s face scores a massive whoop from the back of the room.

Not all of it is fun and games though as the audience is required to think of something they might regret when they die. It makes for a poignant and brave finale as the last stunt is little magic and more sheer determination.

It’s an hour that will amaze, delight and leave you thinking well into the afternoon.