Ben is back with a brand new show, inspired by his time in India and the travelling magicians – Jadoowallah’s – to bring a show that acknowledges his heritage and trades glitz and glamour for something altogether more personal.
The show, residing in Assembly George Square’s Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete, mirrors the staging of those magicians, with the audience in a circle around Ben – leaving him nowhere to hide and making his sleight of hand all the more difficult to pass off undetected.
And yet, time and again he managed to wow the audiences with impressive feats of magic, including intertwining audience members' rings on a spoon, turning rice to water, and having money appear from sand.
These tricks were all dressed up with an appropriate level of theatrical patter – Ben telling stories of Indian folk law and tales from his own childhood. These were, on the whole, welcome additions, providing context and a cultural richness to the show, but they did also slow the show down and the occasional fumbled line felt as though Ben was still getting everything perfected. Conversely, the ad-hoc moments where Ben interacted with the audience, and had to think on his feet, felt much more natural and genuinely funny; he has a wickedly sharp sense of humour.
There was one ‘trick’ that had the audience members of a more sensitive disposition feeling squeamish, and although impressive, I don’t know quite how magic it is. Hearing the audience’s reaction to it though was certainly entertaining.
Following an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, and years performing in Edinburgh, the West End, and internationally, Ben is a seasoned entertainer. Even with the stripped down setting constraining him, Ben manages to deliver the unexpected. With a bit more refining, this show has the potential to be something truly special.