Chris Cox will most certainly be sold out. Let me begin with a couple of caveats. Firstly, I hadn’t planned on seeing this show. Not at all. I didn’t know anything about Chris Cox. His magical comedy show had totally bypassed my radar, and I hadn’t turned down the corner of his page in my Fringe guide. No highlighter pen marks at all (yes, I am that anal – it’s a military operation this Fringe malarkey). Well, ok, I’d clocked his promo flyer, but that was it. A few hours before, as luck would have it (or was it luck?) I was given a ticket to see Chris’s show Everything happens for a reason. Given the opportunity and a rare gap in my show-viewing schedule, I went along and clearly everything does happen for a reason because I was really glad I did. The second is this. As well as comedy I love magic. I am a passionate fan of the enigmatic Derren ’Olivier-award-winning’ Brown (I believe now that to be his full and proper title). I think it is because I know that he knows I know he isn’t from some other dimension, but that through meticulous planning, practise and preparation alongside the application of logic, reason, psychology, mind-reading, sleight of hand, illusions and showmanship, ‘magic’ can take place right in front of our apparently conscious noses while our subconscious serves to collude and implicate.
Gentle NOTBBC reader, bear with me. This IS a review for Chris Cox . I bet he gets well narked with the comparison, but that should be all the more flattering for Chris. Derren Brown clearly has some serious competition. The thing that unnerves me about the Brown is a personal thing that says more about me and my neuroses than the professionalism of Brown – I don’t like hypnotism. It makes me feel vulnerable, like someone could make even more of a public arse of me than I am quite capable of making in a conscious state all by my very self thanking you kindly. Chris Cox is a magician of similar calibre who doesn’t use hypnotism and puts audience member at their ease which is good for anyone who holds a similar disposition as I felt less likely to walk out – which, believe me I am more than ready to do at the drop of a magician’s rabbit-filled hat. Chris is hugely talented, a fine and funny entertainer and definitely one to watch out for.
Everything happens for a reason is a mesmerising hour long journey. There is a lot of audience participation. Don’t let this put you off. Again, let me reveal my cowardly nature by stating that given a split second chance, I will be out of a room quicker than a magician can say ‘can I have a volunteer ….’ . As a rule of thumb, I hate audience participation. If I’m not getting paid to take part or get billing / acknowledgement for my part in the performance then I’ll go elsewhere where I can sit back and relax thank you very much. I hate it with as much venom as I hate audiences clapping along to music. Yet Chris somehow makes any anxieties vanish. Don’t let the act of youthful self-deprecation fool you. Just as Les Dawson’s professional pianist skills allowed him to hit duff notes, and Tommy Cooper misdirected through mishap and gags, you are left pondering on every small incident and moment of Chris’s show with the unanswered inner certainty that every and I mean every moment has been carefully crafted and orchestrated in order to fall into a masterly show, deftly executed with charm, modesty, and self-effacement. If things don’t go quite as he’d hoped, then he’s also got a failsafe cover: everything happens for a reason, right? Clever …. Chris Cox is absolutely fantastic. Just watch out for low flying ferrets.
(Note: No ferrets are hurt during the making of the show)