Broadway Baby: Pure Magic

Paying a second visit to the Fringe, Chris Cox is a contemporary mind reader who strips away all of the sinister nonsense that is often associated with the Derren Brown school of mentalisism, to show us that everything does, perhaps, happen for a reason.

Those that caught last year’s run will see some familiar themes, and be delighted (horrified?) to know, the ferret is back! Cox chooses his victims with the help of a soft-toy ferret that the audience randomly throw between each other, making it impossible for him to use plants, and making his mind reading all the more impressive.

Throughout his hour on stage, Cox calls upon his audience members to make random choices, which he predicts the outcome of with scary accuracy. The show ends with a pre-recorded DVD, and gasps of amazement around the room.

His approach to mind reading and magic in general is very understated, and you can’t help but just like the guy. It’s little wonder why the show is already selling out over at the Gilded Balloon, so you should get a ticket fast before they’ve all gone. [Pete Shaw]

The Herald: Everything Happens For A Reason Review

Despite the fact he is associated with Chris Moyles’s Radio 1 breakfast show, there is a great deal to like about Chris “The Magician” Cox, whose show is driven by auto suggestive promptings than blinding illusion.

A slick bit of video introduces our fresh-faced host, who by his own admission looks potentially a decade younger than his 24 years. He immediately gets among his intimate audience to establish the principle of participation.

His device for doing so is the ferret of fate, a cute, cuddly bean-bag creature which gets tossed around the room like a rowing boat in a force-10 gale.

A swift calculation of how many people are in the audience divided by the number of times this happens reconciles you to the fact that the chances of avoiding getting dragged on stage are minimal – and so it proves.

Up close, Chris still looks terrifyingly young, but commands his stage like an old hand guiding the stooge into the correct position for the illusion. To be honest, it still just feels like being the victim of a very slick school prank.

Altogether more impressive is the show’s finale, where Cox is so certain of subliminally influencing his crowd to say what he wants them to say, it has been recorded on DVD.

What he does is technically very impressive, yet the way he does it would benefit from a little more mystique, a whole lot more showmanship and less rearranging of furniture on stage.

NOTBBC: Everything Happens For A Reason Review

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)

Scotland On Sunday: Take Two

Chris Cox – BBC Radio 1’s Resident Magician from The Chris Moyles Show & Colin Murray, DJ and Broadcaster.

Chris cox and Colin MurrayChris (23) on Colin

I met Colin three years ago at Glastonbury. After that, I went to stay at his flat in London. We used to play Monopoly, which turned into a bit of a joke – he made up his own rules on buying and selling houses and in the end I had to let him win.

As well as working together quite a lot, we shared a flat for just under two years – I moved out a month ago as he is now engaged. He wasn’t the tidiest landlord. All his unread post would stack up in the hall and every now and then we’d get a phone call saying our gas was about to be cut off.

Because I was getting up very early to do the Chris Moyles show and Colin’s Radio 1 show was on in the evenings, we didn’t see much of each other. He used to come in after his show and watch Countdown at 1am and play along – he even had a little book to keep note of his score. It was his way of winding down.

When time allowed we’d go out drinking, but normally we’d just sit in and watch telly – we’re both massive fans of The Simpsons.

I have divulged a lot of my magic tricks to Colin, but I trust him not to tell anyone. He has been a massive support to me. His knowledge of music is phenomenal. He got me into Flaming Lips and Spinal Tap, among other things. I love The Killers, Rufus Wainwright and The Bare Naked Ladies. Colin hates The Bare Naked Ladies so I stuck a load of their tracks in a documentary I made for his show about stand-up. He was not amused.

We both have aspirations to be like Larry David, which he kind of gets away with – I’m quieter than him and he’s probably more comfortable in front of a big group of people.

Chris cox and Colin MurrayColin (30) on Chris

CHRIS is great at his job, which is a prerequisite for getting on with me. For the first year we worked together he got quite annoyed because I would just bully him into doing tricks on the show that he didn’t want to do.

During our single days, he’d use his magic to chat up girls, especially his mind-reading techniques. I thought they were the worst chat-up lines in the world, but somehow they worked. He’d never miss an opportunity.

Chris was a dream flatmate. He also runs a consumer review website, so he’s great at blagging stuff – he sorted my flat out with free Sky television and wi-fi. But it was bad when he would cook up some vegetarian bean monstrosity and stink out the house.

Chris is very slight of frame – he’s got the bone density of a miniature pony – and he went through a period of doing weights and sit-ups. He’d walk about the house with no top on and be doing press-ups behind the sofa while I was trying to watch The Simpsons, but the body mass just wasn’t there. He’s now using the skinny-boy thing to his advantage, which is good. He is very effeminate – I don’t know where he gets that from, because his dad is a pie-eating football fan, a real man’s man – but he’s got a nice girlfriend now. She’s a children’s entertainer. He spent a weekend recently staying where she works. She was dressed as Fireman Sam for a kids’ party and I think they got it on while she was in costume.

I know the secrets behind a lot of Chris’s tricks, but there are some that I just can’t work out. He’s very talented – one of the best in the business – and his show is good too, when he doesn’t crack too many jokes.