Ian Saville, a self-professed ‘socialist magician’, takes you through the history of money and communism by the medium of magic in a free show that pulls off some rather exquisite tricks. For those who doubt the power of magic in the 21st century, Saville will bewilder you with a variety of illusions including his sealed-letter trick and his ability to pull coins out of thin air. More significant yet is that the magic he performs is a lesson in money itself, as he effectively explains economics in a show that will leave you richer for the experience. Accompanied by Karl Marx and his bizarre banker dummy in his explanations, Saville gives an amusing and impressive ventriloquist act that discusses the concept of the value of money at its core. Those interested in the theories of left-wing economics should see this for an in-depth explanation of how money works and how it has become a problem in an unbridled banker’s world.
Though slow in parts and lacking enough tricks to be a large-scale magic show, his act is nonetheless enjoyable and his tricks mindboggling, all the while demonstrating the shocking immateriality of money in a capitalist world. Strong points include the vanishing box at the show’s climax and his production of a never-ending stream of notes representing the banks’ ability to print money endlessly - a trick I’m sure we’d all love to learn. His humour ranges from sardonic self-depreciation to poking fun of Tory bankers, and reminds us of his ‘disappearing Thatcher’ trick that won him acclaim back during the miner strikes (though he does not make Thatcher disappear this time unfortunately). As a show which is both educational whilst it is entertaining, Ian Saville’s performance ranks high among the many free shows on the Fringe and is highly recommendable to all audiences.