Magician Paul Nathan returns to Edinburgh once more with
Still very recommendable to all families, particularly those with children under 13.
The show has been a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe for many years and it’s clear to see why. Nathan is clearly in his element when interacting with children of all ages. Though the show’s name obviously hints that the children will be teased mercilessly, he has the canny ability to judge the reaction of each individual child and knows when to rein it in. He is in every way a calm, confident and likeable performer.
In many ways, this is a very traditional children’s show: lots of audience participation, a menagerie of magic tricks and much applauding of each individual participant throughout. The routine is very well practiced and certainly works it spell on most of the audience. It is perhaps too traditional in that sense for teenagers; the few over the age of 12 who came onstage were significantly more awkward about it, as if they didn’t want to seem childish. This is perhaps understandable, especially when sharing a stage with five year olds. Nathan, to his credit, doesn’t let it knock him off his stride.
There is a bit too much pitter-patter and audience back-and-forth between tricks. It feels like a long time before we see a trick and, over the hour, the number of actual tricks performed is limited. They are all, however, very clever so this could be considered a case of quality over quantity. Whilst it is the magic and the chance to participate that captivates most of the kids, Nathan’s jokes tend to be for the benefit of the parents (much like the champagne he hands round at the beginning). For the most part, they land well. One oblique reference to Nazi Germany toed the line however, as evidenced by the ripple of nervous laughter from the audience that followed.
Perhaps this is evidence that the team are a bit too comfortable with the show and the time for further innovation and reinvention may be ripe. But The I Hate Children Children's Show is still very recommendable to all families, particularly those with children under 13.