Ben Hart: Nutshell - Edinburgh Fringe

Ben Hart: Nutshell - Edinburgh Fringe

It seems that everyone loves to catch out a magician: a sentiment that I empathise with, but ultimately disagree with. Ben Hart agrees, and his show chastises those who arrive wanting to catch him out, seeking to return us all to the childlike wonder magic should invoke. To preserve this wonder, I will not go into too much detail as to his tricks, but Hart certainly succeeds in enthralling the audience with breath-taking and simply awe-inspiring magic.

I felt slightly cheated when he repeated some of the tricks he performed perform on Britain’s Got Talent, briefly removing me from the mystical aura of his show and reminding me of the staged nature of the performance. The audience, however, seemed no less impressed to witness these tricks in the flesh. Hart performs a mixture of short and snappy tricks and longer ones; the latter, though requiring more of the audience’s patience, leaves you no less rewarded at their conclusion. At times I almost did not want to look as his show took a gritty and intense turn. I say ‘almost’, as one could not help but stare in wonder. Even when exploring the darker side to life and magic, Hart takes you on a journey that leads you back to astonishment and a hopeful affirmation of life. 

What perhaps makes Hart stand out among the growing number of magicians is his charismatic delivery that manages to retain a modesty about it. You witness a man who is genuinely in love with the craft he showcases, opening up a door to his fascination and inviting the audience to share it. Far from the cockier magicians of the past, Hart has created a new type of performance based on marvel and the unadulterated desire to be amazed. It comes as no surprise that Hart’s show is in such high demand - he does more than just perform clever tricks, he reminds both children and adults alike of the allure of the giddy and fantastical potential of magic.

Hope White