Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: ‘Disappointed’ At Magic Goes Wrong At The Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 22 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 22 Jan, 2022

By Ferenc Hepp

So what could possibly go wrong with asking the audience in the show, Magic Goes Wrong, at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to take a card then trying to guess it, or someone being sawn in half, or a magician throwing knives, or a magician’s assistant being levitated?

Your first answer is probably correct.

Magic Goes Wrong at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

And that’s the problem, there are few surprises in this production. The predictability lets it down and somewhat devalues it to more of a good amateur performance rather than a show worthy of a national tour and a London run.

To be honest, I was more blown away by the Dyson Airblade in the toilets than the “daredevil” Blade on stage.

Magic Goes Wrong at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

Kenny Wax Ltd, Stage Presence Ltd and Kevin McCollum present the Mischief Theatre Production of Magic Goes Wrong at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until the end of next week.

Guildford is part of a national tour which ventures as far north as Aberdeen, as far south as Cornwall, with a week in Dublin in between. The production with a different cast is also resident at the Apollo Theatre in London until the end of February.

Magic Goes Wrong at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

The idea behind the production is the same as The Play That Goes Wrong; a group of accident prone cast members attempting to put on a show where things do not quite go as smoothly as they should.

The show is based on a charity event, Disasters In Magic Charity Fundraiser, and involves all sorts of acts such as card tricks, a pair of German dancers and acrobats, a magician playing mind tricks and a dare devil entertainer who seems to have nine lives following his accidents.

I absolutely loved The Play That Goes Wrong when I saw it in London, so had high hopes and expectations for this show.

However, the potential was there, but the content disappointed.

Magic Goes Wrong at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

Sam Hill, as the Great Sophisticato, is the host of the night and does have some funny moments, but along with the majority of the other characters, portrays this as a simple caricature of a typical holiday camp entertainer with not a huge amount of variation.

Out of everyone, the Mind Mangler (Rory Fairbairn) was my favourite. His characterisation is more believable and understated, and therefore we accept his routine genuinely goes wrong more than the others, who are extremely predictable.

We are soon introduced to a German duo (Spitzmaus and Bar) played by Jocelyn Prah and Chloe Tannenbaum, but no sooner they are given a welcome by the host, they leave the stage and only play a larger role later in the show.

It is worth keeping an eye on the lit up sign above the stage, as appropriate letters stay lit in order to create amusing expressions and you could tell this was gradually picked up by the audience.

However, not everything goes wrong, and there are some clever tricks dotted throughout, which would be thanks to Ben Hart as the magic consultant and Adam Meggido as the director.

These provide an entertaining interlude, and there is some sentiment thrown in at the end of the show, but overall, the predictability, periodic weak writing and some of the scenes going on for too long meant I was not entertained as much as I hoped.

Magic Goes Wrong runs until Sunday, January 30. Tickets are available via or call the box office on 01483 440000.

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