Fringe review: Charlie Caper – Magical

Fancy yourself as someone who can spot the trick a mile away? Think again. In less than an hour, Magical will have you making an optometrist appointment. ★★★★★

Feb 27, 2020, updated Feb 27, 2020

Charlie Caper has an impressive CV. Over many years the much-loved street magician has performed in 53 countries in seven languages, winning multiple awards including an Olivier, Mandrake’s d’Or and Sweden’s Got Talent.

The tweed-clad Swede has mastered the art of connecting with an audience, effortlessly sucking us in with his charming schtick and corny jokes (and when he tells us he managed to magic his way out of being robbed while doing a street show in London, it’s easy to believe him).

Magical, his show for the 2020 Adelaide Fringe, is a warm-hearted blend of some of “the best bits” of Charlie’s career along with new illusions he’s created in recent years.

As we sit in a semi-circle inside the Parlour tent at Gluttony, Charlie performs at a small table only a few steps away and close enough that we’re certain we won’t miss a trick. Using some familiar props (think cups and balls, packs of cards, a cane and a handkerchief) and some more unorthodox bits and pieces (including a can of Coke, a Sharpie pen, a robotic arm and some thimbles), the suave showman presents some of the smoothest prestidigitation we’ve ever seen.

We know it’s sleight of hand, but no matter how hard we concentrate, we can’t catch Charlie palming the card (or whatever else it is he’s making disappear and reappear). His fine-motor skills are as impressive as they come, but that’s not what makes this show so special. What elevates Magical above standard routines is the attention paid to creating a perfect package – a simple set with a vintage feel, anecdotes with just the right air of whimsy and nostalgia, and a performer who obviously delights in sharing his craft. Even the audience participation is a joy.

Magical is right up there with the best of this year’s family-friendly Fringe offerings. The tent was full for our Wednesday night show, so grab your kids and your grandma and get seats before they sell out.

Charlie Caper is showing at The Parlour at Gluttony until March 15, and at The Pocket at Stirling Fringe on February 22 and 23.

See more Fringe and Festival stories and reviews here.


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