Beyond Belief - The Horseshoe, Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Whilst several of Blackpool’s shows are trimming down to hedge their bets about the coming season, master illusionist Richard De Vere has conjured up his biggest and best offering yet as a twice weekly (three nights in the peak season) attraction in the venue he made his own fronting the much missed Mystique floorshow.
Beyond Belief, now back for its fifth successive season, has matured from being a work in progress to become a fast moving, nicely balanced production featuring a cast of five main players, a couple of hidden extras, the inevitable short spot by the country’s favourite St Bernard (Schnorbitz) and his mini-me sidekick Schnooky.
Much of the magic will be familiar to most of De Vere’s fan base – though these it’s the svelte pixie cropped Tatiana Zharkova who squeezes into the sort of contraptions which the Britain’s Got Talent judges seem to think have just been invented.
So one minute she’s transformed into a miniature leopard (and thankfully back again), the next she’s being decimated and re-animated without so much as losing a smile.
These days De Vere has to combine being a master of mystery with being a stand up comedian – the first still works (even with the Fu Manchu moustache), the second still needs some working on.
Marc Lawler is back again as choreographer and vocalist and happier with Michael Buble than Take That but always a great mover.
New this year is Russian juggler and speciality act Shizzy Mizzy. Formerly part of the popular Eclipse and Forbidden trio he’s had better nights. Too many dropped balls and an abandoned slack wire routine revealed the need for more practice – or fewer nerves.
Sarnai Byamba’s classical ballet moments added a certain class – especially to the Annie Lennox hit No More “I Love Yous”, and a Will Rogers Follies routine was fun, and not just for the look on De Vere’s face.
Genuine and planted volunteers play their part in a worthy addition to the family attractions on offer this season.
Beyond Belief takes place every Tuesday and Thursday - with Wednesdays added during peak season.