Andrew Van Buren and Company - Al Fresco

July 2012
Reviewed by Geoffrey Newton

I have seen Andrew Van Burenís Illusion Show on many occasions but never before in an al fresco situation. I therefore took the opportunity to see this when he appeared as part of Altrincham (Cheshire) Festival Week. The 7th July was carnival day and the event was held on the Local Authority showground which happened to be in the same street where I had lived during my early 20ís. It was a nostalgic trip to see the show amongst fairground rides and other usual high activity events of a successful carnival.

Andrew was totally self contained working from a new stage front fixed to the back of his vehicle complete with PA and roped off area. Working a crowd as opposed to an audience as such (although the difference may be subtle) proved no difficulty for him as Andrew is equally a showman and a magician. There were two performances, restricted to 30 minutes each by the organisers due to logistics. So what did we see?

He first got up a pitch drawing a large crowd and soon transfixed the spectators with the vanishing radio swiftly followed by the tambourine streamer and goldfish bowls productions. This had clearly established him well and the crowd started to grow by the minute.

After a very quick protean dress change with Allyson it was time for audience participation where he delighted 4 youngsters with the rising cards (jumbo of course) with lots of laughs. Next it was time for an adult to help out with Andrewís wrist tie escape and then from a strait jacket.

Time was moving on and there was just time for the Disembodied Princess which was revolved with the centre open Ė itís not often you can see it performed like this! Finally, a Super X style levitation. This brought a rousing applause as the show drew to an end all timed exactly to the 30 minute slot. I was a great day out in Altrincham with perfect weather conditions but I donít think Andrew had a hand in that!

If the show comes your way during the summer do take a look itís well worth it.

© Geoffrey Newton, July 2012