REVIEWED: “Greg Chapman (Almost) Live!” – by Greg Chapman

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I have attended many magic shows, but never one like this! No need to leave the comfort of your own sofa; chosen beverage – and snacks if you wish – to hand, with no worries about the noise of your crisp packet annoying other audience members, but, I thought, without the thrill live theatre gives.

Turns out I was wrong about that: as advised, I logged on ten minutes or so before the timed start – if nothing else, to make sure I could! It was far easier than a novice like me had imagined – er, just follow the link…..

There was a helpful ‘count-down’ image onscreen, along with onscreen callouts telling us who was joining us, and comments being made. So it was ‘virtually’ like any auditorium just before curtain up – ‘oh look, Maggie’s just turned up’….’Patrick’s saying hi’… now hurry up and start – the anticipation is palpable!

Sure enough, at precisely 3pm, there was Greg onscreen, looking a little amazed that it was actually happening and at the way the number of audience members was ramping up – a little figure in the corner told us that well over 100 people were watching.

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Yes, it was different, but the entertainment quality was just as fantastic, gripping and at times bewildering as any of the live shows I’ve seen Greg perform. What a talented man! There was sword juggling and escapology, as exciting on a screen as it is when seen right in front of you; there was comedy; puppetry; audience participation (via onscreen comments) – all typical Chapman fare.

But Greg went further – rather than just doing a ‘live’ show online he exploited the new medium to bring us pre-recorded video segments – and even ‘doctored’ footage showing – hilariously – how some of his magic tricks work – allegedly….

The technological wizardry that seamlessly moved between pre-recorded and live segments was brilliant – not sure whether that kudos goes to Greg or to his lovely Lady Felicity whose hands could occasionally be seen picking cards and driving dinosaur trucks….I kid you not! Combining the best features of live performance and recorded shows, this ‘almost live’ hour flew by, providing some much-needed laughter and entertainment.

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A shout out must also go to Greg’s special guest, Mr Alexander, who is very well known on the Island scene, usually appearing in events across the summer season – but not this year of course. Yes, this ‘almost live’ show went a huge way towards making up for all that live entertainment we are missing – but I have a sneaky feeling a talent like Greg will continue to find ways that the online medium can be used in ways a live performance can’t – and even once everything is back to normal (whatever that is!) the online Greg Chapman Experience will be one we will want to tune into alongside watching his live shows.

And all free of charge – although if you appreciate all Greg’s work (and Felicity’s too!) putting the show together, you are invited to ‘buy him a coffee’ by going to his Donation page.

Greg has announced there will be another show in two weeks’ time, on Sunday 2nd May. I for one will be checking his Facebook page to get further details of time, link to follow etc – and I will be sharing the new page once it is announced to encourage as many of you as possible to tune in – a treat not to be missed.

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