By Gabrielle Raw-Rees
Egor and his team have embraced personality and originality in this frequently shocking and impressive production which asks the audience to leave any pre-conceived notions of magic at the door. Despite the piece as a whole occasionally lacking cohesion, Egor’s skill and charm are undeniable and the amount of work which has gone into the production is staggering.
The scale of some of Egor’s illusions means that the large space seems a suitable choice of venue and yet I can’t help but wonder why the team has not made the most of the option of tiered seating. From my position at the back I feel I missed some of the subtleties of Egor’s work which was a shame. The group take full advantage of the tech available to them with a varied and exciting lighting scheme which complements the progression of the production perfectly.
Along with undeniably impressive magic which I am reluctant to go into as the piece is also running tomorrow night, Egor treats the audience to anecdotes throughout, seemingly focused on his best friend’s experiences with a cult. While Egor may not always be the clearest storyteller, there is no denying his charisma and ability to compel an audience. Egor effectively modulates his tone and alters his physicality to suit the demands of various tales which means that some are delivered in an incredibly funny manner while others have a chilling impact.
A standout element of the production is the original music which elevates the entire performance. The sheer range of music produced is incredibly impressive and it is consistently both perfectly placed and perfectly timed. The music serves as a great backdrop for some of the more physical sections of the production which add to the aura of mysterious persona of Egor. Despite worrying that he might say absolutely anything at anytime (it’s important to note that the production is very explicit in some places despite there being no warning when you book a ticket) Egor handles his audience participation with grace and good humour and puts all those who get involved at ease.
The decision to dress Egor’s assistants in strange masks is slightly confusing and their significance never becomes apparent. They do however add to the atmosphere of mystique and confusion. There were a couple of awkward moments where the assistants in pig masks seemed confused as to what Egor was instructing them to do but I have no doubt this will not be a problem in tomorrow night’s performance. There are also a couple of moments where Egor appears to cut off a reading or illusion before the end without explanation and moves on to something else. These moments did not detract too much from the very positive overall impression which the production gives.
Egor is undoubtedly a rare talent with huge vision and I look forward to seeing his productions become more cohesive in the future. I would recommend anybody snap up the last few tickets which are available because the production is unlike anything I have ever seen at Durham. Egor and his team have created a courageous piece of entertainment with truly jaw-dropping moments and its popularity is a testament to their hard work.