Rob Drummond’s show is more about theatre than magic. He examines free will, destiny and the butterfly effect of small decisions having monumental consequences. The fact that his background is in theatre makes me wonder about exactly what kind of show it actually is. Drummond tells through contemporary documents the story of William Henderson who died 100 years ago performing the Bullet Catch illusion. But only after getting home and googling it becomes clear that Henderson never existed. And a reference to stooges in the documents makes me skeptical about someone from the audience chosen to spend practically the entire show on stage.
Drummond himself has a great stage presence; unlike say Derren Brown his persona is more, well, loveable. He certainly projects control over events, but it’s done with a lightness and compassion missing from other more famous illusionists.
The bullet catch illusion is a bit of an anti-climax. Which is perhaps due to the nature of the trick itself: it really consists of a loud bang as a gun is fired, then the magician shows us a bullet that he’s just ‘caught’ between his teeth. And it’s never explained how marking the bullet with a dash of red ink before the trick ensures it’s the same bullet used throughout – it really wouldn’t take much to mark another bullet beforehand and simply pop that in your mouth. So Bullet Catch is either a lovely bite-size piece of theatre or a slightly disappointing magic show.
Continues at the Spiegeltent, Old Steine, until Sunday 19.