Chris Dugdale: Sleightly Dishonest

Being a show in the weird and wacky world that is the Fringe, I must admit, I had certain expectations of magician Chris Dugdale. You expect something ‘alternative’ or perhaps a trick that you’ve never seen before. I instead saw an hour of what can only be described as a traditional magic show. This isn’t a criticism; Dugdale won me over in the end.

Dugdale serves up an hour of solid entertainment.

It’s certainly true that he leaves his best tricks to the end of the show. At times he does rely heavily on card tricks which are more impressive than breath-taking. Instead of leaving you puzzled at how he pulls them off, you’re actually merely impressed by a man who is skilled with a deck of cards in his hands. The effect is hardly overwhelming, and I’m not won over thus far.

Yet it’s credit to Dugdale that he does in fact have some pretty amazing tricks in his repertoire. A stunt with a paintball leaves his audience perhaps the most befuddled and awe-struck, myself included. After the somewhat mediocre start, I want to argue back. Yet after a while I resign myself to Dugdale’s skilfulness, and end up having a great time by the end.

Dugdale’s persona on stage is at times questionable. Michael McIntyre-light in his delivery, Dugdale gets away with most of his gags, but it’s hardly original. It’s clear, though, that Dugdale realises this; his preamble and audience interaction is limited and he lets the magic do the talking, allowing him to get away with some of his weaker comedic moments.

All things considered, despite my initial doubts, Dugdale serves up an hour of solid entertainment. Alternative it isn’t, but extremely enjoyable it certainly is.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Chris Dugdale

Reviews by Will Roberts

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The Blurb

There's just one rule: do not believe your eyes. For his fourth Edinburgh show, BBC, ITV and NBC favourite Chris Dugdale returns to disarm, deceive and downright confound as he weaves together the past, present and the completely implausible. Warping time and space, he'll leave you questioning everything you believe to be true. Would you play cards with this man? We wouldn't. Twelve Royal Command Performances. 'Masterful magic ... astounding, perplexing and, quite frankly, amazing' (Metro). 'The undisputed king of the close up card trick' (LBC Radio).