Assembly Rooms (Drawing Room), George Street, Edinburgh
We’re already approaching the end of the first week of the Fringe. Our feet are just about walked off, we’re knackered, but we’re happy, because Fringe is back in full swing and we’ve seen some incredible new acts – plus a few familiar favourites. Chris Dugdale definitely falls into the latter category. We first caught his act way back in 2015 and he’s a been a fixture on our schedule ever since. It’s not that we’re fans of magic, per se, but there’s something about this magician that just clicks with us. The cheery patter, his likeable personality – and the fact that he never ever fails to astonish us.
His speciality is close-up magic. He even provides a video camera, trained on his hands, as he goes through an extended card routine with an astonished young lad picked from the crowd. ‘I want to show you a trick,’ says Chris. And we gasp out loud. How does he do that? Every time I think, ‘I’ll really concentrate this time and I’ll see how he gets that card into the box without even touching it. One year, he’ll let his guard down and I’ll catch him out.’
And every year, I’m just as baffled.
And then there’s the mind-reading tricks, the way he seems able to reach into your head and make you do stuff that you cannot rationally explain. Remember the old familiar trick your granddad did when he pulled a coin from your ear at Christmas parties? Mr D gives the routine a fresh new twist and puts you right back in that enchanted state of mind you had in childhood
But listen, I’m not going to bore on about this. If you see only one magician at the Fringe this year, there’s a logical choice. Now concentrate! I want you to picture something. Are you concentrating? I’m seeing a name in my mind… it’s appearing gradually in front of you, like something approaching through a dust storm. It’s taking shape… Can you see it now? Correct!
The name is CHRIS DUGDALE. Now go grab a ticket before they sell out.