Man of Steal – 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

James Freedman is a pickpocket, and a very good one. The (official) opening of the show sees him almost as a magician, making things disappear from a dummy's pockets and appear in his hands. At one point when I saw it, he didn't quite make one lift of a bell silent, but that was the only fluff – all of the other lifts of it were.

He also has a mission to help people protect their things and gives back or shreds all the stuff he takes or creates without permission. You can get an idea of how much he's up against in terms of the education when, despite telling the audience several times not to put anything of value in a back pocket, and having demonstrated how easy it can be to lift from there, the amazed volunteer 'mark' still puts his wallet back there…

The weakest moment of the show for me was, for once, the most personal bit, where he talks about an experience in his childhood. It might well work as part of a different show, but it's a distraction here. Ultimately, an audience going wow at his skills (and about to be wowed with how easy it is to steal someone's identity) are going to see the origin flashback as a pitstop rather than anything driving the show on.

He's doubtless not, despite what his flyer says, the only pickpocket at the Fringe, but he is the only one you can turn up to see. You could do a lot worse than do so.

3/5

On at 1.15pm at the Voodoo Room's Ballroom (venue 68) until the 24th.

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