Pete Firman is a unique performer in the world of illusion, combining stand-up comedy and magic to create spellbinding yet funny shows. Having appeared on the likes of Channel 4’s Dirty Tricks and the BBC’s The Magicians, Pete has gradually been making a name for himself since he first appeared on the scene in 2003 and has an impressive number of TV appearances and stage shows under his belt.
His newest show is the aptly titled Trix which came to the Exeter Corn Exchange on Friday 23rd September. Currently touring the country, and having first been developed and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival back in August, this is Pete’s 10th stage show and also marked his 10th year at the festival. Speaking to him after the performance, Pete explains “It’s the biggest arts festival in the world and it’s the best arts festival in the world. There’s a great atmosphere, for anyone who’s not been up there, and really it’s unlike any other place”. The show itself has been extended from what was shown in Edinburgh and fills up a full 2 hour slot, though honestly it feels like the time goes far too quickly.
each routine is polished to perfection
From the moment Pete steps onto the stage he is a ball of energy, producing quip after quip, sometimes at the expense of some gentle teasing of the audience, which leaves the crowd in hysterics. Gloriously groan worthy puns are abound throughout, as well as snappy improvisation from whatever the crowd may throw at him. This links in with the large amount of audience participation incorporated at various points, with each volunteer bringing something new. As Pete stated, getting the audience involved “keeps you on your toes” as then “you’re not quite sure what to expect, that is what’s quite fun about that.” Even those at the back weren’t safe, with Pete going so far as to run out into the crowd in search of people, though it is all done in good jest and is enormously good fun if you do happen to get conscripted into a routine.
The tricks themselves are brilliant, with a mix of well-loved classics, though with a new spin on them, and new material. There is also quite an eclectic mix of large scale illusion, with levitation and near decapitation, and smaller sleight of hand tricks using commons objects such as playing cards or rope. Pete later gave his reasoning for this as “a modern audience likes to see a lot of different things. It’s like YouTube ‘I don’t like that video; click’ and then ‘I don’t like that video; click.’ So I think throwing in a good variety is a good idea to really keep an audience interested.” However, each routine is polished to perfection, with the performer’s clear passion and experience evident throughout, and many, if not all, of the tricks will leaving you scratching your head and wondering how on Earth did he do that?
Trix is sure to leave you stunned and stumped.
The tour of Trix goes through to November with various performances up and down the country, though Pete jokingly adds “I just sleep on the passenger seat really. I do the show and then I go to sleep” as his tour manager packs up the props and does the driving. If Trix is coming to a city near you, it cannot be recommended enough for those who like magic, those who like comedy and in particular those who like both. Though you may have seen some of the tricks before, Pete’s style, humour and energy makes the experience totally unique and unforgettable. Every show is different from the last, but just as mesmerising, meaning Trix is sure to leave you stunned and stumped.
(For Ages 14+, Approx run time: 2hrs)