MAGIC came to The Courtyard last night as The Champions of Magic took to the stage with a show that was slick, clever, funny ... and amazing.

When you suspend disbelief and allow yourself to be amazed, magic is mesmerising. In a world where we all seem to want to know the how and why of everything, it's a joy to witness things that seem to have no logical explanation, and what's more, not want one! This is a show that is perfectly paced, with comedy an essential part of the mix.

How, for instance, did mentalist Alex McAleer know that Ellie's favourite ice-cream was pistachio and that the word that randomly popped into her head was trampoline? More intriguingly, how did he know that the city she most wanted to visit was Rome - and then present her with an Italian phrasebook inscribed with the instruction to use it in Rome, a gift he'd had in a sealed enveloped since before the show?And how did Edward Hilsum produce not one, but six, white doves from nowhere and equally magically make them - and the cage they were in - vanish without trace? Magic looks pretty cool on the TV, but when it's live on a stage in front of you, the mystery is magnified.

Fay Presto, doyenne of close-up magic, had the audience eating out of her hand as she brought six-year-old Kayleigh out of the audience to assist - and it was magical in every sense of the word when the giant balloon suspended above the stage exploded in a shower of glitter, transformed into a multi-coloured bunch of balloons as Kayleigh watched, wide-eyed. The beauty of magic, especially magic presented as professionally and dramatically as The Champions of Magic show, is that it makes six-year-olds of us all. We want that sense of wonder, we want something we can't explain and, above all, we want to be entertained.

Ensuring that the show came to a thoroughly entertaining and dramatic close were Young and Strange, who met when they were eight years old, and spent their early teenage years attempting, and failing, to make Las Vegas style illusions with cardboard and tape. They are now making illusions in style and the premise of their act is needing to up the ante - brighter lights, bigger tricks, glamorous assistant ... a tiger - to get them to Vegas. And they gave it maximum glitz and a truly impressive illusion plus all the lighting and pyrotechnics we needed to make us feel, just for a moment, that The Courtyard had been transported to The Strip!