Edward Hilsum: Genie
Grinning magician Edward Hilsum wants to make sure you know he is doing a kids’ show. I mean really sure. He can barely get through a sentence without a reference to chocolate milk or unicorns – his mind seems to be a candy-coloured nightmare of cutesy animals and nursery fluff. It is intended to make the link between conjuring and childhood wonder, but for anyone over the age of 10 it’s frankly exhausting, even a little creepy.
The tricks are largely off the peg mechanical illusions, including a magical milk carton that dispenses a rainbow of milkshakes and juices, dressed up with more whimsy-spangled patter. Hilsum is accomplished at sleight of hand, and there is one genuinely impressive coin routine, but otherwise it’s a tame and predictable hour.
Every magician has the occasional misfiring trick, but the length of time Hilsum spends offstage scrabbling for props eventually begins to look like pure sloppiness. The teeth-grinding overuse of Pure Imagination from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack is the final nail in the vanishing cabinet, and at the risk of sounding a sourpuss, before the show is over you will be gagging to shove this particular Genie back in his lamp. Then hurl it into the sun.