Pete Firman: Flimflam, Underbelly, Edinburgh
Thursday 21 August 2008
Looking part indie-rocker, part Addams Family member, the comedy magician Pete Firman has an engaging stage presence that helps his latest show rattle through jolly tricks and nicely-timed asides.
There are a number of acts fusing magic and comedy at the moment, and all have to surmount the fact that a magic trick gives a more diminishing return than even a mother-in-law joke. Once you have seen someone eat razorblades, for example, the next time it's like watching someone eat toast. Firman isn't partial to the razor diet but he's got similarly familiar tricks up his sleeves – a rope trick, vanishing novelty beards and a long nail that he hammers into his nostril.
All the tricks are done with aplomb but leave a limited time for flowing comedy. His best moments are asides, such as the innuendo "I'm deep inside you", which describes where he is in relation to the mind of a volunteer.
Meanwhile, the Middlesbrough-bred performer feels like a traditional Northern comic, but he's more charm than smarm. It's a pity that his cheeky wit is partly hidden by the smoke and mirrors of his trade.
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