Jim the Magician
The Magic of Jim
Dates: 7th – 8th, 10th – 15th August
Time: 20:00 (21:00)
Price: £7.00 (£6.00)

Jim the Magician started learning magic when he was eight years old and has been performing close-up magic professionally since 2010. Based in Edinburgh, he performs regularly at pub events, charity occasions, private parties and weddings around the UK and has also given "pop-up" performances at the Hebridean Celtic Festival and in the Pleasance Courtyard during the Edinburgh Fringe.

Interactive, energising, spontaneous comedy magic, with audience participation. Inspired by his years of experience performing close-up magic, Jim the Magician will take the audience on a journey through his world of magic. Illustrating his musings with magical effects, illusions and stories, Jim's interactive magic show will leave you wondering and pondering long into the night! This show is suitable for anyone aged 14 years and over.

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"Original, entertaining and skilful hour of magic"

The Magic Of Jim

"Jim The Magician" – full name Jim Campbell – in many ways embodies all that's best about the Fringe.  Back in 2012, I met him performing tricks in the street to queues of punters at the Pleasance Courtyard; last year he stepped up to his own hour-long show, and now he's back with a longer run, and a one-off gig back at the Pleasance (this time indoors).  I'm delighted to report that he's risen to the occasion with an engaging, warming, and pleasantly perplexing hour of magic.

Many close-up magicians struggle with the transition to the stage, but Jim has built a routine which befits this larger scale.  He starts well, with an attention-grabbing opening that sees something quite implausible happen to a balloon, and continues through a variety of humorous tricks involving playing cards, locked boxes and disappearing rings.  It's much-loved, traditional stuff – more reminiscent of Paul Daniels than Derren Brown – and relies far more on physical skill than psychology or showmanship; if you're sharp-eyed you might once or twice spot the crucial sneaky move, but most of Jim's magic successfully bamboozled me.

He's surprisingly candid about where many magicians get their tricks (basically, they buy them), but while there are some familiar gimmicks mixed into Jim's act, he also has some nicely-worked routines of his own.  One particular trick involving a Fringe programme is perhaps a little complicated, but earns my admiration for its on-topic theme and its unexpected conclusion.  And his finale, which sees a member of the audience step into the limelight, succeeds on many levels; it's a witty deconstruction of Jim's own act, and I only have the haziest of ideas about how the magic was done.

Where Jim falls down, just slightly, is in his patter – his ability to take control of the room and drive forward with his routine.  His modest-sounding name and mild-mannered persona make a refreshing change from the typical magician's bombast, but on occasion he carries those characteristics to a fault, seeming less in charge of the situation than he really is and really needs to be.  He does know how to elicit the response he wants from his crowd, but a little more exuberance – and maybe even some vocal training – might help him command the size of room he's now performing in.

I'm also not sure about his gambit of chatting to his volunteers before proceeding with the trick; it's a homely and nostalgic device, but it's reminiscent of 1980's game shows and might be a little too old-fashioned for the fast-paced world of the Fringe.  Overall though, Jim has put together an original, entertaining and skilful hour of magic, which delivers plenty of wonderment and quite a lot of laughter too.  He's well worth seeing now – and the name "Jim", however inconspicuous it may seem, is surely one that's worth remembering for the future.


Fringe GURU ***

Thoroughly enjoyable & Entertaining show


THE MAGIC OF JIM Venue 40 7-8, 10-15 August, 8pm


This is a lovely romp through Jim’s life as a magician with lots of different sleight of hand magic from the very start to the very end. He is more use to close up magic, but does very well in this cosy venue. A lot of the magic tricks appear to go wrong and then are amazingly corrected. This entertainer seems to be a very implausible magician, but pulls everything off in lovely humorous ways.

It is a laugh out loud journey with lots of audience participation which in itself can be hilarious. He answers the FAQs and is very clever with word play using the English language. I challenge you to work out how he does some of the incredible magic! I certainly couldn’t. This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining show.

Gillian Sinton

August 2015