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  • Writer's pictureAlex

Could it be Magic? At Wilton’s music hall

Reg Kettle, the main character.
Reg Kettle, compere and the narrator of Could it be Magic?

Why yes, it most certainly could! Could it be Magic? is also funny as hell, and a remarkable piece of one-man writing and performing.

Paul Aitchison is the mastermind behind the concept of a local magic club’s annual show competition, with 4 diverse and simultaneously hilarious characters. First up is the host Reg Kettle, a brusque Northerner with a clear desire to hit the big time, but a hint of disappointment that it hasn’t happened yet and the worry that it might already have passed him by.

Next up is Zantos Thorne, an American magician styled in the mould of a brash street version of David Blaine, who taglines himself as “The Brain fondler”.

Third is Klaus Fantastich and his hammed up Teutonic obsession with “Wurst”.

Last in the line is the sad and slightly tragic figure of Colin Photo. A man for whom everything is already over, and if not already in a collapsed career and lifestyle, it's very close to being so. The sense of pathos is palpable.

Zantos Thorne
Zantos Thorne, The Brain Fondler from Wisconsin
Klaus Fantastich
Klaus Fantastich, the Wurstmeister

Colin Photo
Colin Photo, tragically talented.

With the characters defined, it’s a tribute to Paul Aitchison that he’s able to slip easily from one character to another, and include the costume changes pretty seamlessly.

I will not drop any potential spoilers regarding the magic involved, but the premise revolves around each of the characters being perhaps a little cheesy, or indeed slightly rubbish, or just unlucky with their tricks. But of course Paul Aitchison is much better than that and after you have been entertained by the character in the main part of each act, you are then shown the real trick in a final flourish and what a trick they turn out to be! Very clever stuff.

As the show progresses to the end, the audience gets to vote for their favourite act and the magic doesn’t quite finish even there!

Old school magic of the Paul Daniels kind, clever as it was, has not interested me at all since I saw it the first time around. However this brings back the echos of that but with a solid dose of humour and some genuine “oohs and aahs”.

I sometimes baulk at the thought of a magic or comedy show, having seen a fair few poor examples over the years, but this was genuinely entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Wilton’s music hall is a great venue for this. The shabby chic surroundings fit well with the theme of the show. The bar also serves some very decent beer alongside good wine, and a small but very well executed menu of small food. It’s entirely possible to completed a whole evening’s entertainment and dining there.

We were guests of the show.


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