The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s greatest hub for creativity, and many of the world’s top performers congregate here year after year. For fans of magic, this festival provides an almost bottomless pic ’n’ mix of talent, and PBH’s Free Fringe boasts about half of the best regulars. Among their flagship magic shows each year, you can expect to find Chris Cook, and it is a testament to his skill and creativity that in his sixth run here, he is still able to produce fresh shows that fit in with his modus operandi – to give his audience a personal experience that make them feel as though they are part of something bigger.
His advanced storytelling and creative call-backs is second to none
This year, his show takes on the guise of a meta theatrical experience, with magical skits set in a range of environments, including children’s parties and budget cruises, intercut between a narrative describing the creative process and trials and tribulations of being an Edinburgh performer. These personal snippets serve to provide an interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the lead-up to August for so many of us.
As a magician, Cook is a charming host who genuinely strives to establish a rapport with those who come to his show, above and beyond that of most fringe performers, and certianly all magicians. His magical skills, design of tricks and ability to build to epic climaxes that always pay off, through advanced storytelling and creative call-backs, is second to none.
Those for whom a Chris Cook magic show is an annual pilgrimage will delight in his letting them deeper into his world. However, they won’t be rewarded with a show full of new material, but what is new is extremely impressive, and even if an effect seems familiar, it’s great fun to see a new crescendo to previous reveals. Newcomers to Cook’s show may not feel quite as connected to these links between tricks, but there’s certainly no material here that will alienate them. The only type of magic fan who may feel slightly let down are those after a trick-a-minute kind of show with no frills attached.
There are laughs to be had throughout, with clever scripts and witty ad libs, and you can sense the influence from his director and equally talented magician Dave Alnwick throughout. A top show to see for both returning and new fans, Chris Cook’s Consequences provides another of the many reasons to keep supporting the Free Fringe and being rewarded with top quality entertainment and memories, especially for those fortunate enough to be involved in the show.