Morgan and West: Time-Travelling Magicians, Salberg Studio, Salisbury and touring

TIME-travelling magicians and all round spiffing chaps Rhys Morgan and Robert West brought a magical extravaganza to Salisbury last night with a truly amazing show – as mind boggling as it was delightful.

Celebrating their tenth year as a duo of deception, the intimacy of the Salberg Studio was the perfect venue for their brand of magic; we, the audience, were kept spell-bound for the best part of two hours, enjoying trick after trick, each one more baffling than the last. The show was engagingly presented in that old-fashioned music hall style that the BBC captured so brilliantly in their long running TV series The Good Old Days, Morgan and West’s good humoured and eloquent patter being every bit as clever and well-timed as that of MC Leonard Sachs.

Morgan and West quickly developed an easy, non-threatening rapport with their audience and many of us, myself included, were called upon to assist. Outwardly, some tricks were just plain daft – the “balloon handcuffs” or “balloon rabbit” for example, or the “favourite biscuit trick” which had us all chuckling away (literally) before being blown away (not literally) by what, to use their own words, appeared to be “unparalleled precognitive powers”!

Other bits of magic were more overtly theatrical. How did those three fake works of art change before our very eyes? How could Morgan possibly have known what coins were in that young lady’s purse let alone be able to give us her credit card number?  How could those signed playing cards have moved from one audience member’s hands to another’s?  And for me, one of the most mystifying of the lot, how on earth could West have read the minds of those two girls and let us all know what it was that scared them the most?  (It was the number 13 and appearing naked in public in fact.  How could he possibly have known that?)  There was not a single trick we could even begin to fathom out.

All of us must have seen at least some of the illusions before: cards of course; swallowing needles and then apparently threading them inside your mouth; sawing someone in two; producing objects out of thin air … to name but a few.  But Morgan and West delivered both old tricks and their many new ones with striking originality, good natured charm, a real sense of fun and, of course, utterly deceptive innocence. Objects appearing  from and disappearing into a teacup is one thing but how did West’s foot and half-eaten apple get into his shoe?  And what about all those red clown’s noses?  Dozens and dozens of them.  Where on earth did they come from? We’ll never know, of that I’m quite sure.

Time-Travelling Magicians runs at the Salberg until Saturday 20th January with additional matinees on Thursday and Saturday. As well as being enormously talented, the duo struck me as being a couple of good eggs, so do catch them if you can – its perfect entertainment for a winter’s evening.


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