As a prelude to what we hoped would be a weekend of riotous laughter at the Leicester Comedy Festival (more of which soon), Mrs Chrisparkle and I were joined by our friends the Squire of Sidcup and the Wise Woman of Wembley for dinner, drinks and an evening in the company of comedy magician John Archer. Mr Archer was recently on Britain’s Got Talent (apparently – we’re never in to see it.) However, clearly a lot of the good burghers of Northampton had watched his appearance because when we arrived twenty minutes before the show was due to start (normally plenty of time to get a good seat) we had to make do with the back row. Not a great position from which to observe close-up magic.
However, that’s not really Mr A’s style – you didn’t need to be in the front few rows to watch any sneaky dexterity. Most of his magical feats were mind-based; predicting the numbers that people would choose to create a fantasy lottery ticket, for example, or which card from a selection, all bearing different words on them that an audience member would pick unseen. There was yet another very clever trick where he had £80 in an envelope, with four other worthless envelopes, and he manage to convince audience members to pick all the other envelopes except the one with the dosh.
But he’s not just a fantastic magician. He has a lovely, gentle comedy style – self-deprecating, whacking out short silly songs on a ukulele; playing slightly on the fact that he won’t see 55 again but there’s definitely life in this old dog yet. An intriguing and impressive act; there’s no way that you’ll work out how he performs those feats of magical intellect – and to preserve the mystery I’d really rather not know anyway. No gimmicks, no pyrotechnics; just good old-fashioned entertainment. Nothing more to add! John Archer is touring his Against the Odds show in various venues around the country between now and May. Very enjoyable!