Chris Dugdale: Full Circle




Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

‘I don’t believe it!’

I seem to be turning into Victor Meldrew. Those words have just tumbled, unbidden, from my lips. Because on a small stage, just a few feet in front of me, magician Chris Dugdale has made something impossible happen. And it’s just one of a whole series of impossible things. As I watch, entranced, objects vanish and reappear, cards mysteriously change suit, a scrambled Rubik’s cube appears to solve itself right in front of me. And it doesn’t stop there. There are also the mind control elements. One poor woman is manipulated into a state where she is unable to read a simple word on a card. A brief gesture from Chris and she can read it. Another flourish and once again, she’s tongue-tied. Don’t even ask about the bottle of wine…

We first encountered Chris Dugdale at last year’s fringe and were impressed by his show, but Full Circle is even better. Chris is a likable chap with a roguish air who has an easy rapport with his audience. He charms us, he baffles us and he sends us on our way asking each other, ‘How did he do that?’ Tricks appear to go wrong, but then he reveals that the illusion was way more complicated than we supposed. You thought we were doing this but… it was actually THIS! Cue the gasps of astonishment from everyone watching. ‘No way!’ I hear somebody whisper and I agree one hundred percent.

For a final close up magic routine, Chris invites a whole bunch of us onto the stage to witness his incredible sleight of hand techniques. I watch intently, determined to spot something… anything that will give me a clue as to how he is doing these unbelievable things. But there’s nothing. He must be made of magic. There’s simply no other explanation. One hundred years ago he’d have been burned as a witch.

If you see only one magic show at the fringe this year, go for Full Circle. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

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