Dynamo: Seeing is Believing

Theatre
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Dynamo: Seeing is Believing
1/2
Dynamo: Seeing is Believing
Dynamo: Seeing is Believing
2/2
Dynamo: Seeing is Believing

Trading stunt illusions for stage magic, the boy from Bradford conjures up a stripped-back show

‘Magic is about connection,’ says Dynamo – AKA Bradford magician Steven Frayne – in the second half of tonight’s show. The 32-year-old illusionist has grabbed headlines for his big stunt trickery: walking on the River Thames, floating beside a double-decker bus, levitating at the top of the Shard… But his first ever theatre tour is a far more intimate affair, connecting personally with his diehard fans.

He half manages it. ‘Seeing Is Believing’ features a handful of spectacular feats of magic. But Frayne isn’t a natural showman, and his stiff, fumbled delivery prevents his tricks from truly connecting. There’s plenty of audience interaction, but Frayne comes across as a slightly impatient schoolteacher, asking punters to hurry up as he feels the momentum dropping.

Without giving too much away, the show is a mix of intricate, close-up sleight-of-hand (broadcast to the 3,500-strong crowd on large screens) and bigger stage illusions that can’t quite match up to the TV stunts. Sure, the boy wizard levitates in a crucifix pose to an atmospheric soundtrack, but it only receives a muted response from tonight’s audience.

You could say Dynamo’s slightly shot himself in the foot. He mentions the walking on water trick several times, as if to remind us what he can really do outside of the constraints of a theatre, but he rarely achieves those big, awe-inspiring moments live on stage.

It’s Frayne’s simpler mindreading feats that receive the biggest gasps. A neat ‘connection test’ between siblings leaves the audience puzzled, and a seemingly throwaway attempt to guess a movie title turns into a grand, multi-illusion routine. He’s a skilled card magician, too, but showing off detailed card manipulations feels slightly pointless in a venue this size.

Linking the tricks together is a biographical story about Frayne’s childhood obsession with magic, animated on screen like a moving comic book. And while Dynamo’s superpowers aren’t quite as impressive as on the telly, he certainly has some neat tricks up his sleeve.

By: Ben Williams

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Tastemaker

It's been about a year since I bought tickets to Dynamo so he had a year's worth of anticipation to live up to. He lived up to it.

Dynamo's TV show is full of intimate and intricate personal tricks that are just not possible in a venue of almost 4000 people. As such the tricks are much longer, grander feats around mind reading although there are a few smaller tricks included.

Dynamo is not the most charismatic of performers but he gets an A for effort as the audience interaction was brilliant and he kept up a steady stream of commentary including a joke about blue balls that made me laugh out loud.

I was thoroughly entertained and amazed and although I saw it, I still don't believe it.