Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Magic Ian brings Brecht to Brighton


but Old Karl might find Ian Saville's interpretation of his ideas closer to his spirit (as well as more amusing) than some of the bourgeois academics, not to mention bureaucratic dictators who have used his name.

"HE who laughs has not heard the bad news", quoth Bertold Brecht, but old Bert, though quite a wit himself, had not seen Ian Saville's magic act.
I've known him bring shaking chortles to serried ranks who had been determined not to smile, and though his occasional irreverent sideswipes at our
political pretensions may be painfully true, this should not be mistaken for cynicism.
Ian is always available for good left-wing causes, and never softens on his topicality and subversion. Just see his brilliant trick on Iraq, the WMDs and the oil.... If you haven't yet I won't spoil it. (I mean I won't tell you what happens. I've seen it a few times now, and still laugh with the rest, and still haven't a clue how he does it).
So there you are, Magic and Marxism, a strange but delightful dialectic, mystifying us in order to demystify.
It's probably a unique combination, though I imagine using the odd trick to pull a crowd and deliver the message was done in ancient times - like turning the water into wine, which must have ensured no end of invitations to simchas (festive 'do's). Having been to Cana, I've got a theory as to how He might have done that one; but though I've been watching Ian Saville's act closely since his hair was still black (pic above left) , I've still no idea how he performs his little miracles.
Except maybe the one with the 'phone book and mobile with which he enthralled and mystified the kids - often the hardest audience - and their parents at a Stop the War garden party in Willesden. I had a vague glimmering, but .. it was ingenious. The props may be home made, and the patter is original, but there's nothing amateurish about the prestidigitation. Some, including Ian, may say the ventriloquism is not the best, but it's an extra, and considering we used to listen to Peter Brough performing it on radio we can enjoy Ian Saville performing live with Karl Marx, and now another companion, Bertold Brecht.

And now to the message from the magic man:
Hello friends and colleagues,
This is to either tell or remind you that I'm reviving my Brecht on Magic show at the Brighton Fringe Festival next month. Pass this information on to any friends who might be interested.
Full details are:
Dates: Friday May 11th, Sat. 12th, Mon.14th, Tues.15th, Wed. 16th
Time: 6.45pm
Venue: Komedia Studio Bar, 44-46 Gardner Street, Brighton BN1 1UN
Box Office: Brighton Dome, 29 New Road, BN1 1UG
Tel: 01273 709709
Tickets are only £5 (or £3.50 concessions, including Equity members) making it one of the cheapest shows on the fringe. 2 for 1 offer on the Monday night. You can book tickets online here.If you would like a preview of the act, you can see it on your computer by clicking, or, or finding your way from the website at
Hope you won't consider this spam. It is at least vegetarian spam.
Hope to see you in Brighton or elsewhere,
No, he has not promised me a free ticket.
But here's a funny thing.
I thought about writing this earlier today, and though there are some serious topics about which I've been commenting here and elsewhere, I decided to give a blog a break with something cheerful. I sat down to start it about 17.30 BST. At 18.00 I switched on the TV to watch BBC2's "Eggheads" quiz, and challenging the panel (unsuccesfully) were - a team of magicians. What a coincidence, I thought. I got to typing out the sentence about Ian's ventriloquism - and as I did so, quizmaster Dermot Murnaghan made a remark about ventriloquism.
Spooky or what? That's magic! Now all I need do is refine this prescient or telepathic technique and apply it to racehorses. At which point I've just heard someone on the London TV news say they can't afford horses. Time for tea, I think.



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