Young & Strange

Featuring spectacular magic and illusions
Players Theatre, Thame; Fri February 10th 2012

June 12, 2012

Magic and the supernatural are prevalent in the popular consciousness nowadays, so it is certainly a treat to find an act that is so unique and creative. Richard Young and Sam Strange have genuine personality, and are instantly likeable. They are both comically arrogant yet self-deprecating; performing tricks with ostentation and modesty. My only qualm is that 50 minutes felt like five.

The show starts with a video clip, streamed ‘live’ from backstage, showing the two eponymous magicians in their dressing room.  Footage is then shown of the pair accosting oblivious members of the general public, demanding whether they are excited to hear about the arrival of their show. This had the potential to be self-indulgent, however was very funny.

The illusions themselves are varied and surprising. There is a perfect mixture of close-up and more elaborate tricks; everything from hovering roses to a never-ending supply of bananas, at one point there’s even snow. There is just the right amount of audience participation without it straying into pantomime territory. The volunteers picked to go on stage are treated well, and all do a good job of delivering the perfect reactions to the baffling magic they are faced with. The music used complements the performance well, and really adds to the spellbinding atmosphere created by a number of the illusions.

The finale was similar to the trick they performed for Penn and Teller on the ITV show; a sophisticated, place-switching routine. Although this one was complete with an imposing, industrial size fan taking up much of the stage. The effect was no less astounding, even considering the much smaller size of the venue.

Young and Strange are refreshing and mesmerising performers and their show is appropriate for audiences of all ages. I am intrigued to see what else they come up with, and am looking forward to seeing them again in the future. Highly recommended. 

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