Tuesday, 26 March 2019
PAUL ZENON - "LINKING RINGS" DVD
Paul Zenon is a magician. No, scratch that, because it's not that simple. True, he may have started as a magician, all those years ago in Blackpool, but he's won awards for comedy as well as magic, is a prominent skeptic and bullshit detector, an actor, and also appears on Countdown to liven up Dictionary Corner. So, yeah, Paul Zenon is a magician, but like in all the best tricks things are not always just what they seem.
"Linking Rings" is not a magic show, rather it's a show about magic. It's ostensibly a tale of two people. The first is Jim Collins, Harry Houdini's right hand man and the one responsible for many of the sneaky tricks that allowed the great man to perform what would have seemed like miracles. The other is Zenon himlself, a boy who wandered into a Blackpool magic shop in the early 1970s and, in a way, never left. There's the odd bit of unshowy magic here, (notably in the way Zenon always seems to find a ready supply of alcohol), and of course the titular linking rings make an appearance, but it's really just a man on a stage telling a compelling story of his life and that of a man who's talent was not to be noticed as much as possible.
I'll be honest, I didn't expect this to be so moving, as Zenon lays his history bare with style and no small amount of humour. Collins' story is fascinating, and new to me, but The Adventures Of A Young Magician In Blackpool manages to be the better tale, probably because it's so personal and not gained from books and photographs. Zenon takes everything slowly and clearly, surrounded by appropriate props from the eras he talks about. Lighting and effects are used sparingly and very effectively to compliment the narrative, and I get the feeling this must have been a cracking show to see in the flesh, like experiencing a sixty minute time warp before returning to the unmagical world outside.
"Linking Rings" is a unique and very entertaining DVD, a compelling snapshot into Paul Zenon's early life and that of a man who has fascinated him for many years. Magic? Not really. Magical? Absolutely!