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Morgan and West: A (sort of) Christmas Carol Magic Show review at Festival Square Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘a Christmas box of tricks’

Rhys Morgan and Rob West in Morgan and West: A (sort of) Christmas Carol Magic Show. Photo: Steve Ullathorne
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The sartorially elegant magic double act of Morgan and West deploy their amiably bumbling, Victorian schtick on Dickens. A (sort of) Christmas Carol Magic Show highlights their skill in sleight-of hand and boasts a couple of genuine “how did they do that?” moments.

A Christmas Carol is an entirely appropriate fit, despite (or rather enhanced by) West’s professed antipathy to the very idea of performing Dickens. His Scrooge-like parsimony allows them to slip easily in and out of telling the story; he and Morgan use it to good advantage in moving this highly truncated version along.

It is their rapport and comfort on stage together that really impresses, once the rather half-hearted opening is over with. This is the vital element of their performance, as they use Dickens’ story as a platform for tricks such as Marley’s ghost doing an escape from chains.

Once they begin to integrate the magic into the plot, the whole thing begins to shimmer. Moments such as a leaning trick in which Scrooge flies with the Ghost of Christmas Past, or his wooing of Belle (an audience volunteer) with an astonishingly floating rose, look great – even when the means of support is visible to quick eyes.

With proper jokes for the adults, a magically produced sweetie shower for the younger audience members, this grows into a fine Christmas box of tricks.

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Verdict
Inventive and amiable mix of magic and Dickens that could use an extra sprinkle of sparkle dust
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