This show is based on the popular CBBC series of the same name, in which magicians go into schools in disguise and pretend to be supply teachers, amazing the pupils in the process. Being a stage show this, of course, cannot follow the same format so instead it is a magic show involving some of the cast of the show. It has kept some elements such as tricks that “you can use to impress in the playground” and – judging by what they say – many of the tricks have been done on the show.
The performance is largely sustained by the impetus of John Archer. He actually does seem like the sort of teacher you might have at school and his patter keeps the show spinning along, adding a note of sincerity to the whole thing. His two colleagues (James Went and Sophie C. James, who does not appear in the TV show) are all bright-eyed and bushy tailed in CBBC style personas, something which will probably appeal to the fans of the show. Unsurprisingly, as a member of the Inner Magic Circle, Archer performs the most spectacular tricks, in particular one trick that bookends the entire show, going from running joke to staggering illusion.
Although the cast perform some quite impressive tricks, they are evidently more comfortable with small scale illusions, meaning that they often need to take on a camera so it can be projected on to the big screen behind them. Considering that the Udderbelly, while a sizeable venue, is not exactly stadium sized, this reliance on a screen somewhat undermines the rapport that they try to develop with the audience. Furthermore, their large scale tricks are the least original and the most easily seen through.
However, there is much here to keep children and their parents entertained, with a healthy dose of audience involvement, constantly changing characters onstage and even a trick that you can take home and do for yourself. It just feels a little light on substance. If your child is a fan of the show, their joy at seeing these characters in the flesh may compensate for any weakness but if not they may be left wondering what all the fuss is about.