Mind Mangler, Apollo Theatre, 2024
Photo: Pamela Raith
  • Theatre, Comedy

Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle

Mischief Theatre’s unnecessary sequel to ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ beats you over the head with the same joke for over two hours


Time Out says

Luckily for Mischief Theatre, the public’s enthusiasm for watching things go wrong doesn’t seem to be waning. As ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ celebrates ten years in the West End – and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ having recently played a winter season – here comes the company’s latest: ‘Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle’. It is a sequel of sorts to 2020’s ‘Magic Goes Wrong’, with Henry Lewis returning as the eponymous inept mentalist. As is customary in the plays created by Lewis and his co-writers Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, there’s mess and slapstick aplenty. But, is two hours-plus of slip-ups and mistakes enough to keep our attention?

Well, most of the audience seems to love it. The Mind Mangler tries and fails to predict our names, gets accidentally trapped inside a guillotine and has the questionable assistance of a hapless ‘audience member’ (Sayer). But things start to feel very repetitive. Long sections of audience participation are dragged out. There’s some tired attempts to ‘smell’ people’s professions. As the first act comes to a close, you can’t shake the feeling that there’s not much more we can get from an evening of jokes about failed magic.

Eventually, the show pulls the rug from underneath us. Shockingly, the Mind Mangler’s tricks start to go right. His successful and genuinely very impressive mind reading sends ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ around the audience, while the big finale is would surely make Derren Brown impressed. 

But it’s a little too late to compensate for the sloggy bulk of the play. You’d get more from a night out at a decent actual magic show. 


£22.50-£67.50. Runs 2hr 30min
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