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Mischief's Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle – Edinburgh Fringe review

The show has its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

© Anna Gibbs

Mischief's Magic Goes Wrong is condensed and given a makeover in Mind Mangler, a spin-off featuring Henry Lewis' down-and-out magician as he tries to craft a career in the world of the mystic arts.

Alongside his friend and housemate, the Mind Mangler muddles his way through a (naturally, given this is a Mischief show) error-riddled experience, pulling off unexpected feats of magical prowess in the process. This is the Mischief formula on fine form, aided by the deft skills of Lewis in a note-perfect central turn and Jonathan Sayer as his witless side-kick.

Anyone who's seen Magic Goes Wrong will probably recognise about 30 per cent of proceedings (indeed, some audience members were shouting out lines they'd have heard from that show before they were delivered by Lewis or Sayer), but there's enough novelty and a freshly minted through-line (as well as a strong recurring joke about a jaded former sister-in-law) that add both heart and additional dimensions to the Mind Mangler's tragic reality.

The tricks may be standard showman fare (straight from the Brown or Penn and Teller playbook) but the jokes are plenty, hearty and effortlessly delivered. Audiences lapped up what was on offer – in effect Lewis, unfiltered – with the later time slot adding some more adult moments that probably wouldn't have been suitable for an earlier West End start-time (a gag about a smoke machine is especially well done). One of the best evening shows this year's Fringe will have to offer.

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