Paul Daniels at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

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Paul Daniels has entertained us for over forty years, which is why one feels treacherous at having to make negative comments about his new show which began its national tour here at the Kings.

The show opened disappointingly – Daniels with wife and long-time assistant Debbie McGee simply talking, without aim or direction, for ten minutes or so before the magic started.

When the magic did get going it was as slick as one would expect from the man – but felt tired – very much a man just going through the motions. That said, his levitation of a member of the audience was fine, impressive stuff.

Daniels gave only three tricks in the first half, the majority of that half being taken up by supporting act, comic musician Kev Orkian - an interesting juxtaposition of entertainment styles which worked beautifully and made up for the lack of Daniels himself.

The second half saw him on better form; razor-sharp banter and his random picking of two local characters (Darren and Gary) from the audience to help him out added to the fun.

The disappointingly-small audience loved it all though, and Daniels moved through it all with a professional ease.

JAMES GEORGE