Many magicians have been vexed by how to bring their art form into the 21st Century. Well, the devilishly eccentric Ada Campe has no truck with that, instead presenting her tricks with the aesthetic of a divinely dotty variety artiste – always with that final ‘e’ – from the middle of last century, with an affectedly plummy voice and Rs that roll forever.
Resplendent in greasepaint and glorious feathered headdress, she is flamboyant and quite possibly bonkers, but she knows how to spin a showbusiness anecdote. Her shows features more shaggy dogs than psychic ducks, but her theatrical delivery draws the audience in, with extended stories that cast a spell long before she asks anyone to pick a card. Her eyes gleam as she confides in her audience conspiratorially. She treats each fact as though it were a gift she was bestowing on the audience. Campe is a natural born storyteller with a flare for the dramatic.
Most cabaret involves singing and dancing, but Campe relies on her audience to do most of that. She takes a special pleasure in audience involvement, even rewarding a young male in the audience 5 minutes alone with her after the show when he pulled a symbolic ping pong ball out of her bag of sweeties ‘by chance.’ It’s that glisten in her eyes, the wonder she invests in everyday objects and her larger-than-life persona which bring the real magic.
Campe, the current NATY New Act Of The Year, is a woman who loves flowing, florid language, every phrase wrought to suggest drama and erudition. From juggling to card tricks to mind-reading, the mischievous creation of theatrical (in both sense of the word) academic Naomi Paxton, Ada Campe’s a real one-off, a one-woman celebration of a bygone golden era of decorous razzmatazz, yet still relevant today. The tricks are tricks, nothing really that you won’t have seen before, but if Ada tells us anything, it’s that presentation and image is all – and that she has nailed.
2018 New Act of The Year
2018 Old Comedian of the Year
"Sorcery wrapped in the kind of storytelling that would make