Dirty Tricks: How the Illusionati Rule the World

The Great Baldini sets the stage excellently for his show, greeting each audience member at the door, and asking their name, which he will repeat when he invites them to volunteer later on. Dressed like a ringmaster in the red jacket from his suprisingly amateur promo photo, he opens the show with his powerful and commanding voice, giving a brief lecture on the Illusionati.

Perfect for new or casual magic fans

Baldini is an excellent storyteller, theatrically adding well-crafted backstories and Illusionatical embellishments to each feat he delivers. He fumbles over the odd line, suggesting this show is still in its development stage, but it doesn't detract from the rhythm of the performance.

Throughout the 45-minute show, there only are about 6 or 7 tricks, with much time and attention lavished on setting up each effect and immersing the audience in the mystical world he has conjured up. Each effect he performs lands well, with a couple of minor slip-ups along the way, one of which he recovers from so remarkably that his error actually enhanced the trick. It's all impressive, but never astounding, and if you see a lot of magic shows then there's probably not going to be anything fresh for you here.

Baldini is clearly a seasoned professional, with excellent command of the stage, creating a strong relationship with his audience and adding his own spin to tried-and-tested routines. One feels like he has put more effort into his storytelling than being an ingenuitive magician here, with a few staple effects, which are impressive nonetheless.

This show will be perfect for new or casual magic fans, or those who like to be immersed in a performer's imagination. Audiences looking for a no-frills-attached rollercoaster of magic, or new effects you won't see in other shows may feel mildly let down, but it's still well worth a visit. There may, perhaps, be too much talking for younger children to enjoy. It's also the only magic show at Camden Fringe this year, so if you want some magical cabaret, then this is your best shot. It's not going to win any awards, but is certainly worth an hour of your time.

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Dirty Tricks: How the Illusionati Rule the World

★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The Great Baldini is the head of the shadowy and sinister Illusionati - a group of elite magicians controlling the world through the magical dark arts. In 'Dirty Tricks' he reveals how the Illusionati launder money, rig elections and support MI6 and the CIA. One audience member receives the opportunity to join the Illusionati. The next wholly (im)plausible (magical) conspiracy theory for the Internet. Imagine Tommy Cooper meets Blofeld. The Great Baldini (‘Emperor of Illusion’, ‘Prince of Prestidigitation’, ‘Maharajah of Mystery’) is a magical legend, a music hall relict and an old school theatrical performer. Baldini is a Magic Circle member and award-winning member of Bristol Society of Magic and Wessex Magical Association. “Incredible” (Front Row, BBC Radio 4) “Wonderful, a joy.” (Pick of the Week, BBC Radio 4)

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