“Funny stuff for happy people” is Martin Mor‘s business, and he’s been in it for 30 years. A brilliant performer, he’s not fussed if anyone notices, at least, not during String Theory, which showcases his talents almost incidentally: it’s all about the kids.
No magic trick here isn’t complicated by the addition of young children, many of the stunts are, under Martin’s supervision, performed by the kids themselves. Mor deliberately “fails” a trick or two, and it’s genuinely moving when you realise what he’s up to.
“What do you do if I get it right?”
“We cheer”, everyone shouts. Or some version of that.
“And what do you do if I get it wrong, kids?” he asks.
“We boo”, says one child.
“No: don’t do that,” Mor tells him. “Clap even harder, to encourage me.”
Whether or not your child is lucky enough to go on stage, the show communicates a sense that trying is fun, mistakes are inevitable, and practice is key. What he communicates is a sense of possibility: here is a world of fun, and it could be yours. This seems the message of the show: the tablecloth trick is demystified, pulled off (literally and metaphorically) by a seven- and a nine-year-old. “This tablecloth is nothing fancy, look,” Mor shows the audience afterwards: “I’ve just cut a hole in an old bedspread: you could do the same with your parent’s bedspread. Wait till they’re out, though, it’ll be a nice surprise for when they get back.”
Mor’s patter is what elevates String Theory: whatever is pitched at a grown-up level is well and truly over the kids’ heads, and for the most part, the show is aimed squarely at delighting the weans, which it truly does. There is lots of audience work needed here; so much riffs off the audience that the premise of the show- endearingly quirky and yes, string related- is strong, but never fully exploited. On another day, it may well be. It seems certain that Mor is responding to both the audience and to his own whim. There is no doubt, as we leave, that here is a man with many more tricks up his sleeves.