‘I thought it was a magic show...’ whispers the wee kid in the row in front, looking anxiously at the three-piece jazz group playing chirpily on stage. Well, Wet Paint is more than just a magic show: it combines funky jazz music, eccentric banter and beautiful storytelling to take the audience back to a place most of us have not visited since we were six or seven. The show is wondrous.
Ben Hart and Neil Kelso, the two magicians, dazzled the audience with cards (no, wait for it) and swords in the same trick and risky manoeuvres with wedding rings. There were moments of exquisite beauty that I cannot even consider spoiling for you. Suffice to say that I could not see through a single trick (and we were all looking).
Kelso displayed considerable skill and performed several beautiful tricks but his mastery was in leading the audience deeper into the magic and the mystery until we were fully immersed and grinning ear to ear. He has an incredible stage presence, something like a cross between a bumbling Disney narrator and a Tim Burton character, giggling and shrugging and slurring throughout. Hart produced some stunning illusions and a couple of moments that can only be attributed to real magic.
The problem with even the best magic shows is that often you wind up so engrossed in watching for how they did the trick you forget to appreciate the magic. With Wet Paint you forgot about cynicism and just waited for the next incredible thing to happen.