Chris Dugdale: Down To One


Assembly Rooms, (Drawing Room), Edinburgh

What is the mysterious hold that Chris Dugdale has over us? We first saw him back in 2015, where we awarded his show maximum stars and one of our first Edinburgh Bouquets. We’ve been back for more every year since. Are we simply suffering from an acute case of FOMO? Or did he somehow manage to hypnotise us?

Whatever the case, here we are again in the front row of Down To One, watching in slack-jawed amazement as he runs an enthusiastic crowd through his latest set of bewildering, bamboozling and downright heart-stopping magic. The evening is regularly punctuated with gasps of astonishment and bursts of applause.

This year is mostly about numbers and predictions. Seemingly impossible feats of mathematics and memory are thrown out with consummate ease. An audience member, chosen by a series of random events, suddenly appears to be able to speak foreign languages without breaking a sweat. There’s close up card trickery, the magician’s hands shown live on a giant screen behind him, so we’ve every opportunity to spot that cunnng sleight of hand… but, of course we don’t, because this is so faultlessly executed it’s little wonder that Chris is banned from playing in many casinos in America. His generous offer to meet members of the audience for a hand of poker afterwards go unanswered.

Look, when it comes to superlatives, we’ve pretty much used them all up when talking about Mr Dugdale. All I can say is, if you’re a lover of magic shows (and there are plenty of them on the Fringe this year), this is the one you really mustn’t miss. Get in early and watch his hands very carefully.

And I’m thinking, this year we might be slightly less generous with those stars… maybe we’ll just give him… ah, no. Can’t do it.

Looks like we really are under his spell.

5 stars

Philip Caveney



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