Pierre Ulric performs traditional magic. That is, his act does not rely on smoke, mirrors or outrageous technical deceptions, but rather on the literal handwork of the magician themselves. His show ran for roughly an hour, and was held in the cabaret room below His Majesty’s Theatre, an intimate venue which suited its fringish, side-door feel.
Indeed, Pierre was not a master showman; his audience interaction was by no means smooth or polished, and his pacing was at times uneven. However, this did not detract from its overall effect. The audience was not present to be charmed verbally, but rather seduced by pure, undeniable magic. Pierre did not rely on rhetorical guile or theatricality, but the intricacy and immediacy of his illusions. Indeed, by the end of his performance he had elicited collective gasps from the audience on several occasions.
Like most arts, to relay the specifics of a magic show is to bastardise its imagination. Suffice to say that the familiar utensils of cards and envelopes were used to stunning effect. The almost unceasing involvement of the audience, while at times oppressive, added a layer of ingenuity to his tricks. Each reveal was truly beguiling, even as it felt somewhat familiar.
His act faltered only when he occasionally relied on props and other pre-arranged items. He might have been better served to maintain his impressive work with sleight of hand. Still, maybe this is too conservative an opinion; in order for the art to progress, the magician must expand his tool chest, and the audience their mind along with it.
Words by Harry Peter Sanderson