Review by Andy Hirst: High Jinx, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, February 18th

Huddersfield’s Michael Jordan is a world class magician, illusionist and circus skills expert who plays to packed audiences at landmark venues such as Blackpool Tower. But as he starts his biggest ever UK tour he loves nothing more than to play his home town.

It’s unashamed family entertainment with the audience ranging from four to 94 … and they all loved it.

Michael’s style is all about audience participation with plenty of comedy sprinkled around for good measure. Who else could get them all clapping and cheering for him even before he’d done a trick?

People come to his shows to go away with a smile on their faces and he makes sure they do.

His illusions frustrate and delight at the same time as you try to work out how on earth he did that and why did he ever think it up in the first place? I’ll save you the time and effort. You won’t.

Then there’s old-fashioned magic with new twists on card trickery and his take on the old balls under the cups scam even the Victorians loved way back when.

Then he’ll spice it up with a dash of danger, fire-eating one minute then balancing the biggest set of metal step ladders you’ve ever seen on his chin the next. And he’s got a small chin.

But what Michael loves most is to pack his assistant into small boxes and then put her through all kinds of impossible-to-believe scenarios.

If he’s not plunging great big metal sabres through the sides of a glass cage he’s thrusting umbrellas through a tiny wooden box with her inside.

Michael has the personality to take the audience with him every step of the way and has no problem finding volunteers to help him with the tricks.

One young girl revealed her mum was annoyingly on her mobile too much. “No problem,” said Michael who proceeded to encourage the youngster to pop the offending article into a small cloth bag and then bash the living daylights out of it with her a wooden mallet.

It’s a spoof game show Michael’s conjured up called Get Your Phone Back, but did the victim end up reunited with her mobile and, if so, was it still be in one piece?

He does an amazing card trick while juggling, making another young audience member the star of the show with a great comic skit. She’ll remember that moment forever.

It’s quickfire stuff all the way. When Michael’s not doing an illusion he’s balancing precariously on a unicycle while juggling large knives (as you do), performing the most amazing gravity-defying trick with a wooden hoop and a glass of water or making snow out of a piece of paper.

The music veers from high adrenaline rock through to the weird and quirky depending on what Michael’s up to on stage.

Which is a lot.

It’s a great introduction to live theatre for children, packed with endless ‘what?’ moments.

In a video about High Jinx on YouTube, audience members are interviewed afterwards and one dour-looking Yorkshireman even admits: “Well worth the money. In fact, it’s worth double the money.”

Praise really doesn’t come any higher than that.

Upcoming tour dates can be found HERE.

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.