Review and gallery: Darcy Oake - Edge of Reality tour, Wolverhampton Civic

"Tonight you will see things you have seen before, things you have never seen before, and things that need to be seen to be believed," illusionist Darcy Oake announced to his excited Wolverhampton audience.

Review and gallery: Darcy Oake - Edge of Reality tour, Wolverhampton Civic

Darcy Oake at the Wolverhampton Civic.

Though in actual fact, while the first part was true, there wasn't an awful lot in the show we had never seen before. There were a lot of traditional magic tricks which, while being very clever and no doubt incredibly difficult, don't really thrill or excite.

The truth is, when we see magicians and illusionists today we want to be shocked, terrified and totally amazed. We want to witness danger and preferably an apparent threat to life. Houdini started it all more than 100 years ago and it has been stepped up since to the level of such masters of illusion as David Blaine and Dynamo.

While the wonderfully likeable and warmly entertaining Darcy offers a few 'oohs and aahs' in the show, it is not until the very end that we get the real edge-of-our-seats, breath-taking 'wow' factor.

Locked into a straight jacked, suspended upside down in the air in the claws of a giant human bear trap held apart only by a burning rope - it doesn't get any tenser than this. The clock ticks away as Darcy wriggles and writhes in his desperate attempts to escape before the blades slam shut.

Though for fans who first discovered the magician on Britain's Got Talent this daring escapade will be very familiar - this grand finale having been performed on the show and made freely available on YouTube for all to see.

To be fair, as Darcy couldn't possibly fill the 90-minute show with a series of high-impact, live-threatening spectacles, a few card tricks were to be expected.

This is Darcy's first UK tour and he is great entertainment. He certainly leaves you pondering 'how did he do that?' as he looks to the traditions of magic with playing card tricks, doves produced seemingly from nowhere and the disappearing 'glamorous assistant'. He is a master of the sleight of hand.

There is a little too much chat between tricks, although there is a touching tribute to his late brother.

He is at ease interacting with the audience and his warm approach quickly put 'volunteers' Bruce, Cara and Chris from Halesowen at ease on stage. Although any conversation with the crowd was a tortured affair - the Canadian was clearly having difficulty with the Black Country accent.

There is some added humour and entertainment from his stage hands and, for the boys, a quite raunchy, scantily-clad assistant - although we have to wait until the final act for the heavily tattoed, muscular Darcy to finally get his top off, ladies.

But then this is good, clean, traditional family entertainment.

 By Diane Davies

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