Mandy Muden – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Magic’s long been mainly a male preserve. Maybe there’s just something about spending hours of lonely, obsessive practising to perfect some bit of trickery instead of meeting people and working on your social skills that appeals to the male psyche.

Or maybe, as Mandy Muden, contests, it’s because the Magic Circle don’t trust female conjurors to keep a secret.

As one of the few women exponents of the art, she flips the traditional image on its head. Where old-school male magicians often appeared to be using trickery as a form of cheesy seduction; Muden portrays herself as a randy harridan, using her prestidigitation to entrap unwilling men. It’s a well-defined persona that gives her enjoyable act a distinctively saucy undercurrent.

But this twist can’t completely disguise the fact that these are the same old conjuring tricks you might have seen on Paul Daniels’ show in the Eighties. All her patter can’t save the ‘pick-a-card’ mechanics from seeming dated. Even the tendency for things appearing to go wrong is now all part of the magic landscape.

The banter, too, is fairly standard fare, when seen from a modern stand-up perspective. It’s probably a bit more risqué than your average cruise ship might be used to, but not all that striking for a comedy club.

She’s certainly skilled at executing the illusions, which are sure to bring a touch of variety to a stand-up bill, and has an enjoyably glamorous and gossipy persona. But there’s not that spark of brilliant originality that will elevate her from being a jobbing entertainer who’ll always get work to an exciting star you’d go out of your way to seek out.

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Published: 31 Oct 2007


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2002

Danny Buckler and Mandy Muden

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Mandy Muden: Sleight Of Tongue


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