Chris Cook: Truth or Dare
Mind reading and close-up magic have expanded so rapidly in recent years that they have easily outpaced the business’ ability to come up with new tricks in what was already a very narrow genre. Numbers, colours, cards, inside leg measurements or what is in your pocket, it can be a challenge for magicians to stand out.
Enter Chris Cook. He does all that and more, but rather than stretch our credibility or patience by endlessly stringing out a trick, the Lake District magician cheekily appeals to our imagination by bringing in an extra level of humour to the proceedings and making the audience an integral part of the act. He bills himself as “the first ever fully interactive magic show”, and he is not far wrong.
He connects with the audience even before the show has begun by coming out to marshal the queue that snakes all the way around the Voodoo Rooms block – a turn-out for a free show that the paid-for venues would kill for. By the time everyone has taken their seats in the packed venue, they are already laughing and more than ready for a show.
Selecting a volunteer becomes a whole act in itself, where Cook works every row in the crowd with the slickness of a stand-up, creating routines with lobbing rolled up posters and heads-or-tails flipping which are as elaborate as his actual tricks and just as effective. Onstage, the truth or dare element pops up as the public take over the tricks and catch Cook by genuine surprise, much to the amusement of all.
With Cook discovering the unpredictable in the predictable, the fun is knowing that every uproarious night will be a unique experience.