Katrina Woolley reviews Pete Firman – TriX performing at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) at 20.00pm.
Comedy and magic find their perfect meeting point in Pete Firman’s performance. The thirty-six year old from Middlesbrough is a dominant name in the world of TV magic. His light-hearted, cheeky persona providing a polar opposite to the other biggest magical name on British telly, Derren Brown, who in contrast seems to take himself that little bit too seriously. This is not large scale, blow-your-mind, have you in tears because you don’t understand magic. It’s a bunch of very clever, I wonder-how-he-did-that, tricks – or TriX as they’re titled – satisfyingly sandwiched between tonnes of jokes and personality.
Equipped with mystical objects such as a Sainsbury’s bag, a napkin from Nandos, a carton of orange juice and ‘The Magic Pencil’, Firman performs an array of very impressive acts. Also offering up a lot of sex jokes, bad puns (‘Stare at this orange juice for me will you – it says concentrate’) and relentless teasing of his audience participants, who he particularly seems to enjoy plucking from the very back. Probably as a side effect from usually being on television, he does have slight tendency to over explain things, this, however, is easily forgiven as his over-flowing charisma and Middlesbrough accent make him such a pleasure to watch.
Probably the greatest feat Firman achieves is how wonderfully self-aware the show is. His audience, dominated by educated, middle-aged, middle-class BBC1 watchers, don’t want to be patronised by the ruse that magic is magic. Magic is intelligence and sleight of hand. It also has a lot of tropes and overused material. Firman plays on all of this, constantly pretending to have mucked up, or doing the oldest trick in the book, like pulling hankies out of his mouth, as an interlude to his own original work. Asking an audience member to pick a random peanut out of a bag whilst muttering ‘No, not that one, no a little to the left, a bit higher…’ He continuously reminds you that he knows that you know that it’s a trick, and you thank him for that.