REVIEW: ‘Could it Be Magic?’ at Wilton’s Music Hall

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Written and performed by Paul Aitchison, ‘Could it Be Magic?’ is a one-man show portraying four caricatured magicians in a the final round. Each of the four finalist compete for the audience’s vote and the hallowed trophy.

The first of Aitchison’s characters, Reg Kettle, acts as our host for the evening and opens the show. He is a poor man’s Tommy Cooper, wearing a green fez and often manages to bungle his tricks. Yet, this character was not the eminence of charm as the legendary Tommy Cooper was, but rather feels like a contracted entertainer for a nursing home. Though the comedy is clearly tongue-in-cheek, it fails to be endearing. It seems Aitchison is also unable to deal with cheeky audience members. A volunteer from the audience is asked to describe a dart. Upon her brazen pedantry, Aitchison returns her to the audience. Now, this could have been a comical moment but simply came across as rude and defensive. A poor choice in character trait for a host.

The second of his characters, Zantos Thorne, whose character seems to be based on a blend between a stuntman off of Jackass and the lead singer of Limp Bizkit, has explosive energy that sets the stage ablaze. With his WWE-style entrance, Aitchison seems far more confident playing this character, possibly because it is better constructed. Zantos Thorne’s magical speciality is mind-reading, and his tricks are actually quite impressive. His segment closes with him letting the audience know “You’ve just been brain-fondled!”

The third character is Klaus Fantasiche; a burlesqued representation of a flamboyant German magician complete with a briefcase of bratwurst. Although, an audience favourite, this character’s best trait is possibly his fashion sense. Wearing zebra-print leggings, a crimson satin blazer with zebra-print lapels and a blond shoulder length wig, his look is an inverted imitation of Siegfried Fischbacher from the Vegas magician duo Siegfried and Roy. Together with his gentle flirtation with audience members and puns, such as “wurst case scenario”, he is adored by the audience. His briefcase is full of sausages from across Europe, including the British banger and Spanish chorizo. His act includes guessing which of the sausages are being stroked with a feather by a volunteer from the audience without looking.

The forth character is from a duo – a married couple. An old-school magician, wearing a three-piece suit and glasses tragically performs without his off-stage wife. He invites the audience to show pity as he performs an old-hat cup-and-dice trick

However, this magic show falls just short of being a spellbinding experience. The comedy is devoid of wit, and relies upon a dated form of tongue-in-cheek humour. Though the acts themselves are not particularly impressive overall, Aitchison is able to exploit the audience’s compassion by crafting many likeable characters.

Could it Be Magic? is running at Wilton’s Music Hall from 1 – 5 February.

Find out more and book your tickets here.