Piff the Magic Dragon Online
If you’re looking for something different to do on a Saturday night, this interactive magic show over Zoom could be it. With tickets charged per household, it provides family-friendly entertainment for those who are tired of watching Strictly’s best bits.
Piff the Magic Dragon has really cornered the market in sardonic reptilian illusionists. The younger brother of Puff (Steve to him), Piff is the magician in a dragon suit who broke out on ITV’s Penn and Teller: Fool Us, before moving to Las Vegas and appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2015. This has led to a residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, and a disappearance of the Statue of Liberty alongside David Copperfield. Since the pandemic put a temporary stop to his casino show, he has transformed his garage into a TV studio and created a Zoom-friendly production. However, 7pm here is 11am for him and he did have the somewhat resentful demeanour of an early morning QVC host, an atmosphere augmented by the deliberately cheesy effects and music. However, that is his thing so you can’t really criticise it, and the chaotic feel added to the fun. There were scavenger hunts (find the biggest vegetable in the house, for example — a simple device but hilarious all the same; you don’t know you need to see a man caress a squash or do a potato dance until you see it), card tricks, classic illusions and a brilliantly surreal bit with his chihuahua sidekick Mr Piffles as Freddie Mercury at LiveAid.
It would be fair to say that, in many ways, this is Mr Piffles’ operation. In a miniature dragon suit and with his own conjuring chops and a cuteness factor of 11 out of 10, he brings the show together. He is the crux of many illusions, and rightly so. Hopefully, he gets a nice little steak in his dressing room after each show because he is a very good boy.
It’s hard to keep magic fresh and the delivery shows imagination; the bit about the baby ghost that will grow up to become a tablecloth is also delightfully surreal. The show is punctuated with some risqué humour: a questionable pronunciation of “comb” may have been accidental, but “Put that in your pink box, Jade” definitely wasn’t. The show uses a lot of breaking the fourth wall: “It’s fake money, Jade, else we wouldn’t be in a garage at 11 in the morning” was funny, but this technique was employed a little too much. There are only so many times you can hear about the dismantling of the US postal system, and some gags were much too reliant on the differences between the UK and US, which became a little repetitive. It’s a tough job to perform over Zoom, with people switching off, not hearing things and so on. It can affect the flow of the show, but Piff is quick-witted and makes entertainment out of the mishaps.
This is a cute and fun alternative to a night out.
Piff the Magic Dragon was a one-off online UK show. For further information visit the Piff the Magic Dragon’s website here.