Barry & Stuart : Powered by Demons

* * * *
4 stars

Barry and Stuart seem like lovely young men.  Lovely young men, that is, who have been spawned by Satan.

In their show ‘Powered By Demons’ these two talented Scottish magicians serve up old school trickery with a somewhat gory twist.  Tongues are pierced, throats are garrotted and nails are inserted where nails really shouldn’t be inserted.  This leaves you in the paradoxical situation of wanting to look closer whilst having to turn away in disgust.

If this all seems like a bit much for you, don’t worry.  It’s all interspersed with a knowing humour and well-tuned showmanship.  It’s a credit to the likeability of Barry and Stuart that they remain pleasant companions for the hour, even after spewing forth blood.  At such close quarters it’s tempting to try and figure out how they do what they do, but I’m afraid I was left clueless as they really are rather good.

This is definitely a show which will make you gasp – either with laughter, revulsion or genuine awe.

Di

* * * * *
5 stars

Underbelly’s dark and dank Belly Button is an ideal setting for Barry & Stuart’s unique blend of black comedy and impressive magic. On entering the venue the audience were greeted by the sight of the Scottish duo sipping tea from cups and saucers at the back of the stage – this, it turns out, is in an effort to appear friendlier after comments made about their 2008 sell out show at the Fringe.

The show kicked off with a gory trick involving a polo mint and a cheese wire which set the tone for the rest of the show. The pair really packed in the tricks during the hour long show and I was genuinely impressed. Seeing magic performed at close quarters means the performers have to work even harder to maintain the illusion and Barry and Stuart certainly succeeded. With plenty of audience involvement in the show, engaging banter and obvious talent, I’m sure Barry and Stuart will continue to build on their previous successes.

Sarah

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