Piff the Magic Dragon

Rating ****
Reviewed by Ed Theakston

For anyone who still has that part inside of them that longs to believe, this hilarious show from Piff the Magic Dragon will leave you with a firmly cemented belief in conjury and magic of all kinds. A hilarious combination of standup routine and magic show, Piff (John Van der Put) is an unstoppable success.

The poker-faced lizard is sardonic and sceptical of his audience, but the show actually ends up being a rather heartwarming, an afflicted lizard who’s Midas-like magic powers constantly make life difficult. His pissy assistant actually only wants to help, and his animal sidekicks – the levitating chihuahua Mr Piffles and the forgetful psychic fish Derren Gold – are too cute for words. It is a winning combination; laden with gimmicks but supported by real soul and skill.

The tricks themselves are a combination of close-up style card tricks and grander illusions. You’ve probably seen a lot of these tricks before, but you won’t have seen them done like this. Making the right card rise out of a pack, we’ve seen. But a chihuahua making the card rise? It’s a show that puts a brilliant, hilarious and inventive new spin on classic magic tricks.

There’s plenty of audience interaction, as one would expect of this kind of act, and close to the knuckle humour abounds. It takes a little time to warm up to Piff’s sarcastic tone, but as soon as he gets the audience inside he holds them there by the scruff of the neck until the end of the show.

Underneath the dragon suit is an experienced showman who has honed his craft over many years. It is a show that has some impressive flourishes and an astounding climax. This is an act that is going places; not one to miss.