Oliver Meech – when Science and Magic collide – 22 October 2017

When Lamplugh Village Hall Treasurer, Bob Marshall, entered the Hall a few minutes into the show, he must have thought Oliver Meech had already pulled off the greatest illusion in history; from less than twenty people who’d enquired about tickets before the show an audience of over 50 had somehow materialised!

From his first trick, involving a plastic brain fished from the skull of a nervous looking volunteer, who stood up each time the brain was prodded, Oliver Meech held our attention through two sets of around 45 minutes during which he performed varying inexplicable feats accompanied by light hearted banter. There was the occasional nod to science in his preamble to each trick but essentially this was a magic show, and none the worse for that.

The audience was involved throughout, choosing cards the identity of which miraculously appeared on a pre-written scrap of paper, shuffling various other props from which Oliver would somehow choose one preordained by a convoluted chain of actions and, in the case of children in the audience, lining up to throw rolled up pieces of paper at him. The point of this (other than to amuse the children) was only revealed when the pieces of paper were found to contain details of information chosen at random in an earlier trick.

Oliver Meech was clearly a very skilful magician and illusionist and a consummate entertainer of the calibre you’d expect a regular attendee at the Edinburgh Festival to be. A show of this type was new to the Village Hall but the audience of 52, aged from three to eighty or more, who I’m certain were real and not illusory, enjoyed an evening to remember.