Review: Barry and Stuart - Show and Tell at Jacksons Lane

Barry and Stuart

Barry and Stuart - Credit: Archant

Wickedly funny Scottish magicians are surely among the best in the business

Want to find out how to turn water into wine (and outrage a genuine bishop in the process)?

Or how to play a version of Russian roulette involving three beakers of water, one of sulphuric acid, a goldfish, and guarantee that poor little fishy survives every time?

Or perhaps you’d like to know how to magically memorize every single page of a celebrity gossip magazine, to ‘impress’ your friends?

If so, close your eyes, say the magic words and pop up in a puff of smoke at one of Barry and Stuart’s fizzing (sometimes literally) performances of their UK tour, which has just kicked off at the spell-binding Jacksons Lane.

The wickedly funny Scottish Bafta-nominated modern day wizards conjure up gobsmacking magic tricks in the first half of their entrancing act, then tell you how they did them after the interval.

Why do they want to shatter our illusions and spoil the fun for everyone, you may well ask?

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Because, they argue, it’s actually more fun to expose the cheating magician’s devious artistry. It’s also, let’s be honest, a way for the devilish duo to show off their incredible skill, nurtured over many years of practice and refining since they were wee bairns.

Today they’re surely among the best in the business, and are certainly the funniest. The guys are intensely likeable and spin their narrative in a compelling, self-deprecating way. They’re knowing, ironic and often leave the audience in stitches.

As kids who grew up in the era of Paul Daniels and The Great Soprendo (“abracadabra, piff paff pooff!”), they’re acutely aware that magic acts can come across as naff – and exploit this with hilarious results, not least when they show us old local TV news footage of themselves as earnest teenage junior magic champions. Cringe-making stuff, and very amusing.

With a few gory moments, a bit of nudity, gun fire, poltergeists and audience participation live on Facebook, Show and Tell offers a great night of varied, original laugh-and-gasp entertainment.

* Barry and Stuart kicked off their national tour, Show and Tell, at Jacksons Lane in Archway Road, N6, with three shows from February 7 to February 9.