EDINBURGH FRINGE: Ben Hart: The Nutshell at the Gilded Balloon Teviot EH8 9AJ (55 min) *****
I must apologise to Ben Hart for sitting in the front row.

Normally I never sit there for fear my note-taking will distract the performer, but I wanted to get as close as possible to Ben to scrutinise his movements (though I needn’t have worried as his every move was videoed onto a back projection).

My eyes never left his hands and my jaw never stopped dropping! This is one remarkable young man. What a showman! This really is a must see show. Like me, you’ll never get your head round what you are seeing and you’ll leave thinking life can never be the same again.

Although the winner of the Magic Circle’s Young Magician of the Year has been selling out at the Fringe for a few years, the first time I saw him was on the last series of Britain’s Got Talent. I’m not always that bothered about magicians but, even through the small screen – well, I’ve got a bigger telly now – his personality came across.

On stage, and only inches away (be still my beating heart), he is the consummate performer while still retaining that boyish charm, a cheeky grin. But he is enigmatic. Dressed in his distinctive woollen suit and Doc Martens he is of this age but not. And at the end of the show he quickly disappears (not literally, I might add), so he remains a mystery.

To disclose the contents of his mind-blowing show would undoubtedly spoil things for those of you not lucky enough to have yet seen it. But it is impossible to fathom how he does what he does. He uses random members of the audience to help him, and in case you think he has a plant here and there, he’ll give an object to one person and then ask them to pass it on.

In a nutshell, his skill is extraordinary, his theatricality astonishing. He really isn’t of this world – but then he does say that he imagined the show, and all its components, in an out of body experience!

Tickets are hard to come by and he’s now doing an extra show, so if you don’t catch him at the Fringe he’s shortly taking a show called Wonder on tour.

Ben Hart: The Nutshell is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until Aug 25 at 5.30pm. Tickets from £10.50 with concessions.
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