The Great Baldini – Oct 2023

A Mystery Tour that was genuinely Magical – The Great Baldini visits Polruan
By Vicky Halls

I was intrigued when I saw the advertisement for an opportunity to see The Great Baldini perform at the Village Hall, organised by the Polruan Theatre Club. I am a great fan of magic on the screen but, after a traumatic experience of audience participation with Paul Daniels, I have since been wary of face-to-face performances. I am so pleased however that I was persuaded to give live magic another go!

As soon as we entered the Hall, we were greeted by The Great Baldini himself, a larger-than-life character with a smiling face, the garb of a circus ringmaster and a very firm handshake. As I went to my seat, I found myself checking my pockets and jewellery – all present and correct but he already had me under his spell. After some informal table magic the first set began.

Each set was a version of his 2022 and 2023 Edinburgh Fringe shows, the first one giving the audience glimpses of extraordinary magic to illustrate the story of the influence his grandfather had on his magic career, starting with his first illusions at the age of three. The second set was a journey to solve the mystery attached to a character called Lafayette, taking us through Europe, via puzzles, tricks and mysteries, including the performance of a challenging Knight’s Tour around a chessboard.

The stories were exciting and compelling, with The Great Baldini’s booming voice and ability to speak eloquently at speed, but the most enthralling part of the show was undoubtedly the magic! Every single piece of magic was mind boggling, from card tricks, through mind reading and escapology, to impossible knots in rope. For me the highlight had to be the incredible rapport between The Great Baldini and his audience, with plenty of hilarious ad libs and lots of pretence that tricks were going badly wrong, only to find they worked all along.

Credit must go to Henry Rowe, who, when called upon to assist in a mind-reading trick, managed to ignore all the subtle nudges from The Great Baldini with rebellious aplomb, prompting a whisper in his ear from the showman, saying “This is MY show”. It was so slickly done, with The Great Baldini convincing us all (incorrectly of course) that Henry was spoiling his trick, that it looked like it was planned and part of his act. I must also mention Mark Pope, who was asked up on stage to play the role of the newly discovered Lafayette. His performance, in a trick involving eggs, was hilarious, from his brilliant Deep South accent (required for the role) to his finale of downing a raw egg with a theatrical flourish! This I would point out even surprised The Great Baldini.

What an amazing evening, if anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to be there on the night has a chance in the future to see The Great Baldini in action, you will not be disappointed.


In Revision


In Revision


In Revision