REVIEW: Champions of Magic at The Hexagon, Sunday, April 15

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FIVE stunning magicians bamboozled a packed Hexagon audience on Sunday evening as the Champions of Magic came to town.

Four very different acts, showcasing different types of magic came together for a satisfying and enjoyable family show.

Opening, with a very entertaining riff on the Bond theme Live and Let Die, was double act Young and Strange – magicians who you may have seen photobombing a Sky News reporter outside Parliament with a trick they also performed later in the show: Young is magically shrunk in a box, his body disappearing.

Mentalist Alex McAleer used comedy and a cuddly toy chimp to both interact with his audience and perform a stunning illusion with £1,000 and a 12-year-old boy.

He later performed an incredibly mind-reading illusion that raises the stakes for anyone looking to replicate him: just how could he predict four random things from an audience member?

Fernando Velasco is a Mexican illusionist who had a graceful presence and a charming smile. He successfully levitated a young audience member and passed a hoop over her to gasps of astonishment. 

Later in the show, he performed a death-defying escape that left your heart in your mouth as the seconds to certain doom ticked away. Hugely talented, he also has a charming and cheeky smile.

American Kayla Drescher had an incredible running gag throughout the evening, where an audience member constantly picked the same card. It had a very, very satisfying pay off towards the end of the show.

She also performed an incredible silent routine over broken hearts that was stunning to watch. It is the same trick that she stunned Penn and Teller with on their US show Fool Me – seen live it is even more impressive.

And ending the evening, Young and Strange performed a medley of tricks with the help of an acrobatic assistant, building into impressive Las Vegas routine that was all glitz and glamour, complete with a tiger – and plenty of laughs. 

This high octane set was then immediately contrasted with a real moment of charm to bring the show to a quiet, but hugely satisfying climax. The change of tone was deft and carried out with aplomb. 

And equally satisfying was the encore illusion that involved all five of the champion magicians.

Champions of Magic is a spellbinding evening of illusion that built and built and built to a stunning conclusion. Suitable for all ages, it is a show that bamboozles, fools, frustrates and delights and is packed with laughter as well as tricks galore. It’s a fantastic evening out. 

Champions of Magic show

Champions of Magic, starring Kayla Drescher, Mentalist Alex McAleer, Fernando Velasco and Young and Strange

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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