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’.