Pete Firman: Jiggery Pokery
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 10th Aug 2011
  • |
  • ★★★★

In a Fringe increasingly dominated by comedy it can be difficult for stand-ups to stand out. Everybody needs a gimmick; ‘he’s the one with the puppet’, ‘he’s the one who used to be on Blue Peter’, etc. Sticking to this rule, Pete Firman could be described as ‘the one who does magic’ but there’s much much more to this show than gimmickry.It’s difficult to review a magic show without giving away the surprises but suffice it to say that Firman’s five years at the Fringe have given him an excellent sense of how to perfectly pitch a magic show in an intimate venue. From his surprise appearance on stage to his involvement of the audience in almost every trick, he plays fantastically to an Edinburgh crowd. And though the tricks are by-and-large fairly small, the fact that he performs them in the middle of an empty stage, under stark, bright lights, with nowhere to hide, makes them as impressive as anything David Blaine or Dynamo has to offer.Firman is an old hand at stage magic but it sometimes seems like his confidence in his craft makes him forget how amazing they seem to the audience. He’s so slick that often the tricks whizz past before they have a chance to sink in. When talking about one of the larger illusions, he emphasises quite strongly that it IS a trick; a fact which does rob it of some of the - dare-we-say - magic.What saves this from being a major problem is the stand-up side of the act; Firman is a funny and thoroughly likeable guy. While there are few actual ‘jokes’, his cheeky, cocky, borderline-rude patter thoroughly engages the audience and keeps the show slamming along at a cracking pace.All-in-all, chances to see such a slick practitioner at such close quarters are few and far between. And to have this level of skill presented by a guy you just want to be friends with is the icing on the cake. Funny, mind-boggling and memorable.

Reviews by Tom King


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Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

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Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

Assembly George Square Gardens

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The Blurb

After sell out shows in 2007/08/09/10, the UK’s top comedic conjuror returns with 'the best magic tricks in the Universe' (Independent). 'Funnier than most comedians and more magical than Dumbledore on a good day' (Time Out).