Morgan and West - Clockwork Miracles ****
Magic's a strange game. Ordinarily you'd think a show which had one or two moments that were less than slick would ruin your enjoyment, or at least lead to a bad review. Not so in the case of Morgan and West, although I'm almost begrudgingly deducting them a star for that.
I'll start by clarifying - there were one or two moments during the fantastically charming show (perhaps the most charming magic show of the entire festival, in fact) where it was obvious how a trick was done. An item was in audience view that shouldn't have been, or one of the duo was rumaging about in their pockets that little bit too long. There were one or two similar moments in Morgan and West's show last year where the solution to the deception was all too apparent.
But for some reason that just didn't matter. For the most part the magic was good fun, and executed very well. The tricks aren't the most visually spectacular you're likely to see at the festival, but then, that's not the point. Perhaps the main spectacle is getting to see magic up and close, enjoying the delivery along with the content of the trick.
The delivery is what makes Morgan and West so fun - they could botch the whole show (NB. They didn't!) and you'd probably let them off with it because it's so well done. If you're not familiar with the duo, their gimmick is that they're two magicians from the Victorian age, who've travelled through time to the modern day. They dress the part, and act the part.
They're oozing with old-timey charm, it wraps you up in what they're doing and it feels like an hour of fantastic company rather than simply an hour of a show. There's a connection between the audience and the artists which is difficult to achieve, let alone maintain as these two do.
What's more, this show is absolutely family friendly. It won't upset your kids, and it won't leave you feel like you're watching a children's show. There's no swearing, and there's absolutely no offensive content.
All in all, it's one of the best all-round magic shows at the festival. Tricks are all well and good, but if you're not presenting them in an entertaining way, you're not presenting an enjoyable show. Morgan and West certainly manage to do that, and do it very well.