Paul Zenon: Trust Me!
  • By Ben Dali
  • |
  • 7th Aug 2019
  • |
  • ★★★★

Paul Zenon is one of the UK’s most beloved and sought-after magicians – a veteran of TV shows, corporate events, and high end cabaret, as well as becoming a regular guest on the Countdown Dictionary Corner – and being treated to an hour of his greatest hits, it’s not hard to see how he earned this status.

One of the few British practitioners of magic worthy of the term ‘legend'.

Zenon powers through a wide range of routines and well delivered gags that mostly leave the audience spellbound, and nobody could accuse him of not providing value for money. There are occasional moments where it’s hard to tell whether he has flubbed an effect or not, cutting a couple of tricks short with carefully placed witty asides, often leading to twisting revelations; but not always. Clearly unplanned incidents include slicing his thumb open on a tin can and spilling an entire pint at the outset of his finale. Another magician might be put off by such events, but Paul Zenon owns these hurdles, borrowing a plaster from an audience member and having impromptu banter with the bar staff over his refill. If anything, these blunders enhanced the show as they highlight the pressures of live entertainment, and it feels like a privilege to know we were witness to a show that, out tens of thousands Paul Zenon will perform in his life, he himself will not forget.

He uses a number of audience volunteers and handles them with grace and respect, affording them the opportunity to be a part of the show. Tricks range from sophisticated material demonstrating skills that have clearly taken decades to hone, right through to props more commonly seen in children’s birthday parties than from pioneers of the artform such as he. His full-pinted finale is classic Zenon, and anyone who has seen him live in recent years will be familiar with the routine already, inspiring a range of reactions from shock and awe to an inability to look – especially as he delivers it clenching a genuinely blood-soaked tissue. What a pro!

The show could have benefited from a few routines with higher production value and killer kickers, but there are plenty of highlights, and if you like magic, you can’t go wrong with seeing one of the few British practitioners worthy of the term ‘legend’.

Reviews by Ben Dali

Underbelly, Cowgate

SK Shlomo: Surrender

★★★★
Assembly Rooms

Melinda Hughes: Off the Scale

★★★
PQA Venues @Riddle's Court

Comedy Hypnotist and Mentalist Mark Knight

Just the Tonic at Marlin's Wynd

Les Quizérables

★★★
PBH's Free Fringe @ Globe Bar

Dave Bibby: Crazy Cat Lad-y

★★★★
PBH's Free Fringe @ Voodoo Rooms

The Creative Martyrs: Kabarett DysUtopia

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

La Clique's master magician and mischief maker, 'C4 Countdown's wild man of the wand' (Independent), is back – hang onto your valuables and chuckle muscles. 'Zenon's deceptive self-deprecation belies the precision of his stunts and the sharpness of his warm wit... seeing will be believing’ (Guardian). 'A huge hit with our audiences... the wonderful talent of being very funny and the brilliant skill of his magic makes him quite unique' (Don Ward, Comedy Store). ‘Elegance and warmth... the consummate showman' (Chortle.co.uk). 'Contemporary master of his art' (Times). 'Unmissable' (FringeReview.co.uk).

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