Under the helm of Barbara Melville, Illicit Ink has become an established 'must see' for spoken word in Edinburgh, so it's great to see them at Unbound. They also provide a clear demonstration of why you can't combine 'book festival' and 'spoken word' and make any stereotypical predictions. Especially as the show's theme was misdirection and slight of hand: Magic, in other words – with stories conjuring up magic, and magic conjuring up stories.
One of the pleasures of this merger of magic and storytelling was to reveal common themes behind the drive to perform; whether it's the search for self worth, to provide gifts to others, or for sinister disguise. And so we had Lynsey May's tale of an illusionist whose most effective tricks are played off the stage, Catriona Silvey's story of the kindness of distraction, Declan Dineen's magic act themed around a lover's sad tale, Gavin Inglis' story of the parallels of magic and life; Andrew C. Ferguson's story about a sinister line in disappearing tricks, and Andrew J. Wilson's uplifting story of friendship forged through magic. The packed show also included Doug Segal's library-book mind reading, Ariadne Cass-Maran's take on a (black) magic show, and the psychologist and conjurer Richard Wiseman explaining how all the tricks work. (Cripes! I wouldn't want to go on after him!)
An extra delight was the close-up magic performed during the break by Pete Hathaway and William Patrick, as well as Declan Dineen coming over to our table – his tricks were literally amazing.