Review: James Phelan: Troublemaker at Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room

Opening the show twice, to gain applause that were to his satisfaction, James Phelan is no novice to the stage. On the contrary, his enigmatic presence, and impressive audience deception is something to be revered for this 26-year-old first-timer. Following in the footsteps of his uncle Paul Daniels, there is a lot to live up to. 

And he did just this – commanding the audience, using his prankster charm, whit and cheeky charisma. We see card tricks, guessing games, and audience members risking their iPhones in a stomach-turning suspense sensation.

In this hour, Phelan peppers the show with stories from his youth, growing up aspiring to be a magician, filled with anecdotes from past experiences. Phelan then morphs childhood guessing games into stunning audience mind reads – you can not understand how he does it.

Although confident on stage, some of the audience were not. His tricks were mind-blowing, but the transition between them can be stilted at times, and occasionally tiresome that made for slow watching, and lengthy audience instruction. But Phelan does not let this phase him, and he has no trouble sustaining banter. 

He is a one-man show, which is hard to pull off. Great set, lighting and technical. Fun for all ages… This magical debut will certainly get your heart racing, and for magician fans and families alike, this experience is not to be missed.

James Phelan: Troublemaker is at Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room at 6.45 pm until the 25th.

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