It’s Magic… Up North
Storm Ciara was in full force, or by geordie standards, it was a tad blowy! As per usual, the forecasts were being extra cautious. So I was holding back getting tickets to see “It’s Magic… Up North”, just in case. By 5pm the weather was windy but fine, so I braved the storm and headed for a night of entertainment that I’m so glad I hadn’t missed.
A Surprise Starter
Earlier in the day, the Tyne Theatre released an update on Facebook announcing that Lorraine Crosby would be opening the show with 20 minutes of singing. Knowing that Chris is a huge fan of Variety, the addition was fully in line with his type of show.
Lorraine’s started off with a Queen set, perfectly showing off her rock chick vocals. Following up with a Slowed down version of The Beatles “Help!”. It was this point she did a quick audience poll to see who’d heard her sing before. About 10% cheered, followed by a larger proportion indicating they hadn’t. This was where Lorraine unveiled her claim to fame. In 1993, the majority of the UK would have heard her vocals on Meat Loafs “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” Single. It was a worldwide hit and became number one and the biggest selling single in 1993 in the UK. Obviously this was a fantastic lead into a Meat Loaf set of songs finishing with the mentioned hit. An excellent way to start the night.
Chris Cross – The Real Geordie Magician!
After the musical intro “warm-up”, The Blue Velvet curtains of the Tyne Theatre lifted revealing a very simple set of stage props. Chris Cross started his set with a stage illusion that produced his assistant, Claire from a tiny box filled with balloons. Strong powerful proper magic! Where Chris excels is when his humour and magic collide. His audience interaction is spot on as he engages and includes so many in the show which is hilarious. Luckily I was sitting far enough back that the stage lighting obliterated me from his view.
Although Chris has performed magic around the world, I wonder if he tweaks his script for the country he’s in. The reason I say this, one routine featured a metal pan, which was introduced as a “Geordie Radge Chip Pan”. Classic! I’ve not heard things being radge since school and twenty-odd years later it still made me smile. The routine was fast-paced and produced chips.
During the show, Chris dedicated a routine as a tribute to the late Paul Daniels. The icon in British magic and TV had worked with Chris before in his Quayside Caberet and had offered advice to him with his career.
Over the years I’ve seen Chris perform several times. One of his more famous routines is his escapology act. Where he escapes from a straight jacket, beating his “best” time. This is super polished now and every beat of this is spot on. From selecting 2 spectators to get involved in being strapping him into the jacket. He never misses a beat and the audience laps up all the wit. A Cracking first half to the night.
After a short interval, the second half of “It’s Magic… up North” started with Martin Daniels. I remember seeing Martin on TV as a child, where he would perform life-threatening magic stunts on The Paul Daniels Magic Show. Martin is now celebrating 40 years in show business, and his presentation reflects this. While he has his own style, you can still notice mannerisms and similarity’s from his Dad.
Martin’s opening stunt involved balancing a glass of Coke inside a Snooker Triangle, that was attached to a dog lead. He then spun it around his head like a helicopter, while recounting funny one-liners. While not as life-threatening as I’d seen on the TV, still it was full of peril for the front row! The stunt was impressive on several reasons, not only wasn’t any coke spilt, but he never showed any strain from swirling around the weight on the chain for 5 minutes!
Martin was a true professional entertainer, sharing stories and cheeky humour. It was a real highlight getting the chance to see him perform.
Meeting the stars
After the show, I popped into the Tyne Theatre bar with a friend for a quick catch up. This also gave us the chance to meet the magical duo. They both gave the time to visit everyone at the bar and have a little chat. I was also lucky enough to grab a quick photograph, something I’ve previously missed out on as I don’t like being intrusive. Though as I get older I realise that you should grab the chance instead of feeling like you missed out.
I left the theatre with a real buzz feel. I’d laughed, been amazed and left with a photographic souvenier.