Magic and comedy share a great deal in common. For one, they lose their core essence if dissected. They require a set-up and then an eventual pay-off, and both are something which Pete Firman has honed with remarkable skill. To celebrate a decade of shows at the Fringe, Pete Firman has launched his new show TriX, dedicated more to the understanding of technique involved, over the usual grandeur of spectacle. With the old style charm and delivery of the late Paul Daniels, but the impeccable comic wit of a more modern illusionist, his ability to entice the audience to buy into his TriX is the mark of magical elegance (or a dirty con man).
Speaking of TriX, a fair few pieces in Firman’s routine are quite ordinary. While the show may celebrate turning the most unassuming item into a magical marvel (be it a pencil, Nando’s napkin or shopping bag), they are sets which the more experienced magic viewers can solve. The real testament to Firman though is his precision and sleek sleight of hand. Even if you muster a guess into how a trick was performed, the approach is a gleaming example of expertise. The finale of TriX, without spoiling, is a classic trick performed in a uniquely twisted new way and deserves praise.
Though what’s the point in being practised in the Devil’s artform if you aren’t utilising his other asset: comedy? Luckily for Firman, his set routines of humour are dripping with innuendos and oh Lord, the puns! So many puns, each more agonisingly beautiful than the last. With wizardry which at times can border on the plain side, it’s Firman’s zealous selling of comedy which really transforms them into masterful illusions.
Magicians lie. Pete Firman, however, despite the fool’s charm, treats his audience as equals. Refusing to belittle them with talk of mysticism, instead constantly reminding us all that these are TriX. Proficient and fascinating there is little reason to wonder why Pete Firman is celebrating a successful decade at the Fringe.