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The Extinction Event review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘brilliantly bewildering’

Simon Evans and David Aula in The Extinction Event. Photo: Michael Wharley Simon Evans and David Aula in The Extinction Event. Photo: Michael Wharley
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I have no idea what goes on in The Extinction Event. Not a clue. Simon Evans and David Aula – theatre directors in their day jobs – follow up their successful 2016 show The Vanishing Man (also running all month) with another whirlwind, rollercoaster ride of magic and mischief, designed to leave its audience baffled.

The premise, I think, is that Aula is actually dead. The person on stage is just a lookalike called Jack, who Evans is trying to train up as his assistant. But as the show develops, shooting in 50 different directions at once, Jack starts to prove himself eerily alike to Aula. And Evans starts to lose the plot.

There’s a lot more going on besides, and within that teetering meta-theatrical framework, Aula – sorry, Jack – and Evans manage to cram a whole lot of magic. Mind-reading, card tricks and a brilliant bullet-catch finale.

Their technique, their slickness and their sleight of hand are all impressive, but it’s the sharpness and smartness of their writing that makes the show. They bounce off each other brilliantly, always 10 steps ahead of their audience. An intelligent, invigorating double act.

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A brilliantly bewildering hour of magic and mischief from Simon Evans and David Aula