|The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat|
|Published on Friday, 31 August 2012|
There are some people out there who don’t appreciate magic shows; who feel that magic is just someone cheating them for a living, and getting away with it. Well, I say to them… yeah, that’s entirely the point, and isn’t it utterly amazing? But Pete Heat is one of a rare breed of entertainers who have an equal chance of entertaining those who (like me) adore magic, and those who are relatively indifferent to it – by virtue of being excellent at what he does and also very, very funny.
Essentially, the man’s what would happen if David Blaine was possessed by Noel Fielding’s sense of style and humour, with a show that’s exactly as mental and magnificent as that sounds. Heat (Pete Hathway to his mum) is a consummate performer, with enough salt-of-the-earth charm and wit to make even a demand for applause sound endearing. He has a natural affinity with that most run-of-the-mill of magic tropes, the card trick, and can make the act of producing the right card a genuinely gasp-worth feat (which is to say nothing about where it’s produced from… shudder).
But it’s not all card tricks and skinny jeans; there is a streak of deeply silly surrealist humour running through the show, from Heat’s aristocratic weasel sidekick to the final trick, which is as gleefully insane as it is remarkable. In fact the only real criticism one could have is that sometimes the comedy gets in the way of the magic, with the build-up to a trick consisting entirely of jokes followed by an abrupt switch to magic. But this would only be a problem if the jokes weren’t funny (they are) or the trick wasn’t good enough (they really are), so it all works out for the best.
So: great comedy, great magic. Is this a perfect show? Well, as much as I’d like to say yes, a lot of it will be an acquired taste, especially given the prominence of the humour. But the unquestionable part is the skill that underlies it all, keeping the whole act going. Pete Heat is genuinely fantastic at what he does – check him out on YouTube – and while joyless nit-pickers might dismiss him as a hipster, they can’t possibly doubt his talent. In the inherently subjective world of art and show-business, that’s as close to a total thumbs up as you can get.
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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012. We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.