Dabek is an old-school showman; his banter is honed to a bleeding edge and you can easily imagine him holding forth on classic Saturday night TV, perhaps as a guest on
You get to pay what you felt the show was worth as you leave. I considered just handing over my wallet.
During this hour of excellent magical comedy, his irreverent style keeps the audience in stitches. One female volunteer can hardly talk for laughing at his constant jokes, sideways glances and asides and has to be allowed a moment to recover before Dabek can continue with the trick. He never really lets up, constantly throwing out lines of comedy gold and vicious self-deprecation that keeps the audience entirely on-side. I really get the impression that, even if he didn’t do any magic, this would be a great comedy show.
Of course, the magic itself is slick and effortless; Dabek takes old-school tricks and gives them his own, unique spin. He’s a master of sleight of hand and, if distraction is the most powerful weapon in a magician’s arsenal, Dabek goes thermonuclear; his ability to befuddle with banter is unsurpassed. At one point, the reveal at the end of a trick causes a chap in the front row to exclaim “No way!” He’s not the only one to be stunned; the audience react several times like they’ve just seen a genuine miracle and they’d be goggling with stunned silence if they weren’t so busy laughing.
In his eighth year in Edinburgh, Paul Dabek continues to show why he is one of the must-see acts on the Edinburgh Fringe. His dedication to the Free Fringe model means that, instead of having to pay to see him in one of the big venues, you get to pay what you felt the show was worth as you leave. I considered just handing over my wallet.