Magic Steve's Disappearing Act
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
'I'm Annette Cadabra- Magic Steve's lovely assistant! He let me write this cos I'm like the new Debbie McGee. A warped magic circle surrounds this blissfully unaware comic character
The story is that Magic Steve, the conjurer, has not turned up to entertain us, leaving lovely assistant Annette Cadabra to fill for time. 'I'm like the new Debbie McGee only better coz I'm allowed to talk'
The relatively inexperienced Isabel Fay gives a barnstorming performance of her own superbly crafted script. She keeps a thin idea going strongly for 55 minutes by pulling out all the stops in plot, character and 'bits of business'. It reminded me of Groundhog Day - a single tiny idea which should not work, but triumphantly does.
Our lovely but vulnerable assistant has a soft Wiltshire accent
with an excited schoolgirl enthusiasm for showbiz and her own
sparkly success: she is an innocent wide-eyed, gossipy but talentless
wannabe who wants to make very bestest friends with the audience.
So innocently enthusiastic is she that she is unaware (but the audience is) of dark elements in Magic Steve's character and acquaintances. But occasionally, she flips into a hard-eyed catatonic stare and intones in a blank monotone: 'I must not tell Steve that Frank's got Cynthia'; a hook that is not fully-enough resolved at the end but still keeps you intrigued.
The joy of this show is that it is about an unsubtle airhead but is scripted with extreme subtlety, with a controlled performance to match. With audience participation, magic tricks, Polaroid photos passed round the audience and even a singalong with hairbrushes, this is an extraordinary calling card by Fay. Pure magic.