Danny Buckler and Mandy Muden

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Magic's not exactly the height of cool. For every David Blaine there's a thousand frilly-shirted Paul Daniels wannabes.

Danny Buckler and Mandy Muden are a couple of the next generation of practitioners trying to bring a new credibility to the art, combining their tricks with contemporary stand-up routines.

Unfortunately, they don't quite succeed - even though they both have certain strengths to commend them.

Buckler is a personable young chap, with a polished but easy-going manner and his anecdotal banter provides an entertaining insight into the unspeakable misery of his other life as children's entertainer Mr Noodles.

But the magic accompanying this is pretty unexciting - no matter how much skill and practice the trick no doubt requires, it's hard to get worked up about a man cutting a rope in two, then revealing it intact. Again.

One neat trick involving a plastic fish tied to a plank of wood (yes, really) is quite impressive though the illusion is somewhat shattered by the revelation that it's an off-the-peg prop.

Muden, on the other hand, starts and finishes her section of the show with a couple of jaw-droppingly astounding illusions - conjuring some sizeable objects from thin air.

Her persona's great, too - glamorous, gossipy and bitchy in equal proportion. But sadly there's more sophistication in her chic designer outfit than there is in her comedy.

The banter will be familiar to anyone whose seen the inside of a comedy club, and she even repeats a couple of her own gags (an blatant double entendre on 'palming' and a 'I'm a good shoplifter' line) more than once in the course of her half-hour.

As a whole, this show would have benefited from more collaboration, combining the pair's very different strengths rather than simply showcasing two separate performers under one convenient banner.

It's a pleasant enough way to while away an hour, but with so many other distractions on the Fringe, this could really do with being that bit more magical if it wants to make huge audiences appear.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Aug 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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