Paul Zenon – Lounge Wizard ***

Fringe @ Le Monde, 4 – 30 August 2010

Reviewed for The List (issue 664)

Paul Zenon was once a TV regular. Now he’s performing in a Chinese-themed nightclub basement on the Five Pound Fringe. His quips to that effect, while delivered with self-deprecation rather than bitterness, carry an uneasy ring of truth that echoes through his act. Paul Zenon appears to be coasting. He’s still an excellent magician and wouldn’t have achieved success to start with if his patter and sleight-of-hand weren’t seriously slick. But the tricks he applies his skills to are mostly nothing new.

It’s enjoyable to see him substituting the mic cable into the ‘cut the rope/magically repair the rope’ routine, but the old tricks outnumber the new twists. And while a signed tenner appearing inside a lemon is still amazing when you don’t know how it’s done, Zenon himself comes across as unimpressed, even bored by it. No wonder he keeps having to rebuke the audience for failing to applaud; his body language says that there’s nothing worth getting excited about.

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