Devil in the Deck - One4Review
one4review | On 22, Aug 2013
Paul Nathan takes on the persona of Jack Swindle from the American South in this engrossing combination of story- telling and card manipulation magic. Giving atmosphere to the show is the live music composed by John Anaya on guitar. The stories relate the significant events in Jack’s life beginning with his childhood when his superstitious mother took him to see a fortune-teller whose tarot reading predicted death when he reached his mid-twenties.
His mother encouraged him to develop the fine arts of card trickery in the hope that by lying and cheating his way through life, he would avoid the fatal prediction. As a young man, he becomes a successful card-sharp and meets Lysette, the love of his life. Together they journey through America and eventually end up in Europe.
Paul Nathan is an expressive story teller. His stories contain drama, humour, poignancy and a touch of philosophical observation. All these elements are especially combined in his story of their visit to Pamplona in Spain at the time of the bull running festival. A quieter story is of a crafty father and son in which the key decisions of the son’s life were decided by a cut of the cards.
As for the magic, this is very skilfully performed. It involves audience involvement and a vertical camera linked to a screen so that we can see his hands in close-up. After performing one of the tricks, he explains how it worked. Before thinking this is breaking the magician’s code, the explanation is so fast and contains so many technical terms, you could plainly appreciate that it would take years of practice to master all the techniques involved.
His final story links everything together, words and magic combining to give a heart-warming ending. This is a show which is beautifully structured and will delight and impress.
Reviewed by Ben
Pleasance Dome; 23
31 July to 25 August 2013 (not 5, 12, 19)
16.10 – 17.10
Fringe Programme Page Number: 274