Shona Reppe channels Paul Daniels in Magic Sho
Tricks and tuxedos from Scotland's premier puppeteer and children's theatremaker
Despite being widely regarded as one of Scotland’s best-loved, and most skilful, children’s theatremakers, Shona Reppe isn’t one for resting on her laurels. In recent years, her gorgeous and intricate productions of Cinderella, Potato Needs a Bath and The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean have delighted both young audiences and their grown-ups – but now it’s time for a new challenge: magic.
The cleverly titled Magic Sho finds Reppe teaming up with a smart rabbit who never misses a trick, but is inexplicably sad. A puppeteer by trade, did Reppe have to learn actual magic tricks to create her new show?
‘Yes!’ she says, excitedly. ‘I do my best although it's not easy – I realised during rehearsals that I'd taken on a lot making a new show and learning a completely new skill to boot. But it's a magic show, so I had to go for it – and the good thing is that unless you know how a trick is done, I have the element of surprise on my side.’
A fine puppeteer and storyteller, Reppe has also been designing her own highly imaginative sets since forming her company almost 20 years ago. Inspiration for the Magic Sho set came from immersing herself in the world of magic, where she also established what kind of magician she wanted to be (should she succeed in her new quest to join the Magic Circle).
‘This set is based in the idea of a travelling magician,’ explains Reppe. ‘I went to Blackpool Magic Convention and soaked up all the different styles I saw. So I’m channelling both David Copperfield (smoke and lights) and Paul Daniels (giant playing cards and gloss paint). I also wear a tuxedo. I’m definitely trying to present the traditional magic show format – there’s nothing David Blaine about me.’