Obscura

Christian Cagigal’s Obscura is an utterly charming magic show, but it’s more than that: it’s a theatrical experience incorporating card tricks, music boxes and storytelling.

Cagigal’s performance style is intimate, authentic and engaging.

Cagigal performs at a small table with only a musicbox or two, a notebook and a few decks of cards as his props. Above him, fixed close on his hands, a camera projects onto the backdrop behind him, allowing us two vantage points from which to watch. He began the show by promising, “this will be a little different.” Different it certainly was.

There’s no snake-oil salesman pitches or flashy magic here. Instead the playing cards become characters in his hands as he tells stories of gambling, religious inquisition and the misadventures of a forgotten cousin who tried to defy a deal with a trickster from New Orleans.

Cagigal’s performance style is intimate, authentic and engaging. Whether he is speaking as a character, in storyteller mode, or as his own pleasant self, he creates a good connection with the audience and is so disarming that no one balked (too much) when it came time for audience participation.

I was called to the stage to play a card game against him. Cagigal explained that his grandmother had taught him to play cards by telling him stories about the cards. He demonstrated this by asking me to join him in a game of war between the red and black card suits.

As we took it in turns to choose which card soldiers would die and as Cagigal told the sombre story behind each dead soldier (in the audience, the laughs turned to noises of pity), he performed some kind of sleight of hand, because when equal numbers were dead on each side, I turned over the last card to find out the winner of war and found it – well, that would be telling. Just one of many parables he performed, animated by magic and by turns funny, sinister, or made of small heartbreaks.

Obscura is a delightful show that proves no one is ever too grown up for magic, a show poignant in its simplicity and originality. Cagigal’s artful use of storytelling meant that – much like so many coins or cards – he had us in the palm of his hand.

Reviews by Emma Gibson

theSpace @ Venue45

Love and Information by Caryl Churchill

★★★★
C venues - C nova

Cartography

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

The Beanfield

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

The Hampstead Murder Mystery!

★★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Marching for Necie

★★
Paradise in The Vault

Women of the Mourning Fields

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A teeny-tiny magic show, performed live on a big screen! Join magician Christian Cagigal, as he weaves fairy tales, dark fables and strange happenings into an intimate and engaging evening fraught with wonder, mystery and imagination. Cagigal has been regaling diverse audiences with his unique hybrid of theatre and slightly creepy-magic for years in Downtown San Francisco. With Obscura, Cagigal returns to his roots as an up-close and personal entertainer, peppering some of his favourite short stories with witty and eccentric demonstrations of close-up card magic and more. ‘A deeply theatrical narrative that’s startling in its originality.’(Chloe Veltman, ArtsBlogJournal.com).

Most Popular See More

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets