Fate and Two Sugars

I have never met a more adorable fringe performer than Jack Barton. He is the sort of guy I would love to take home to my parents. His unfailing smile is warm and inviting, and seeing him up there all alone on the stage at Hill Street Theatre made me just want to give him a hug. He wasn't alone for long though. Barton's act of psychological trickery involves the audience intimately. On his second night, this at one point involved the entire six-person audience (leaving the stalls empty, but in true Fringe spirit they were soon occupied again by the sound technician). His tricks are simple and astoundingly clever, from his first appearance on stage, to the final, accumulative showstopper that had us all (yes, all six of us) knocked for six. Something about Barton’s living-room manner makes his mental stunts all the more impressive. You expect such magical acrobatics from the looming likes of Derren Brown, but not from cuddly Jack Barton. You will be blown away.Unfortunately, the domestic magical bliss that Barton exudes is also his downfall. The stage seems all too big for him; he doesn’t have the flashy showmanship to fill it. As adorable as he is, his performance is far from polished and immersive, and his self-consciousness is painfully evident. This is perfectly understandable given that this is Barton’s first Fringe, and indeed his first time on stage. For more of a show and less of a living room demonstration, I would hope to see less of the bumbling stage hand, and more of the (well-deserved) confidence which will inevitably come to Barton in time. It was a tragedy that there weren’t more minds in Barton’s audience to be blown by his trickery, or won over by his homely charm. While I cannot recommend this as a show of glitz, glamour or uninhibited entertainment, I would still urge you go and support this genuinely lovable trickster before he gets big. We need more charmingly accessible magicians in the world, and I hope Jack Barton will never stop being lovely.

Reviews by Leila Battison

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The Blurb

Having spent years acquiring a bizarre collection of skills, Jack is live in Edinburgh to demonstrate them. Be dazzled, confused or amused as he fashions psychological mysteries that must either be scientific breakthroughs or elaborate trickery.

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