By Jay Menard
The Charming Cheat offers a modern twist on some classic conjuring. It’s a polished production that will delight viewers of all ages.
Michael Fisher introduces London Fringe audiences to Corbin, the Charming Cheat — a convivial con man whose act has clearly been honed to almost perfection. Impeccable timing, smooth banter, and smooth delivery are hallmarks of each and every trick.
Corbin looks the part and plays the part of a turn-of-the -20th century con man. Appear straight out of the days of the snake oil salesman, Corbin shares his twist on some classic examples of the art of deception: the shell game, three-card monte, sleight-of-hand tricks, and reading tells.
Corbin’s a pleasant change from much of the magic we see today — shows based on pomp and circumstance, favouring spectacle over simplicity. By design, Corbin’s a throwback to an earlier time of magic, but he’s so skilled that even if you know the tricks, you can’t see the actions.
The show moves along at a languid pace. It’s feels conversational in nature and, like any good con man, Corbin is adept at drawing you into his confidence. He’s so convincing that you almost want to check for your wallet when you leave the stage.
The show features a number of quality tricks and a fair bit of audience participation. It’s an enjoyable spectacle that doesn’t make a spectacle of itself.
*** — Three stars out of five.
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca