"James Hyland gives an extraordinary performance as Inspector Gammell, layered with confidence, intelligence, cynicism and intensity. Michael Shon matches him as the smug and craftily clever Cutley. They bounce off each other perfectly in this enthralling two-hander. ‘Magic Circle’, the first full-length play by novelist and journalist Kim Newman, pulses with tension. This is a tightly written, expertly performed mystery with a supernatural element that jars and unsettles as it hurtles towards its sinister finale. Storytelling at its best with remarkable performances from its cast."
~Annie Power, LONDON PUB THEATRES MAGAZINE
"DESERVES MUCH PRAISE... With some of the best acting I’ve seen on stage since I saw James McAvoy in the West End, this performance takes on another dimension... Actor James Hyland also produced the play and it feels like a showcase for him, one that highlights his talents... Hyland has most of the dialogue and is able to take a journey through a variety of different states seamlessly and effortlessly. A truly epic performance and one that I was delighted to have seen."
~Douglas McFarlane, UK THEATRE NETWORK
"Magic Circle is a fabulously entertaining two-handed piece of theatre, which benefits from having two extremely well-balanced and capable cast members... Gammell (played by Hyland) is tough and cynical with a controlled fury that is just inches away from committing the sort of violence that he knows would terminate his career were he to try it... Magic Circle while often being very funny proves to be anything but a comedy as the dramatic turn of events unfold towards the startling conclusion. This double-headed approach reminded me in some degree of Sidney Lumet’s The Offence (1973), only it's The Offence as written by Dennis Wheatley. We give Magic Circle a big 666/666."
"Both actors excel in their respective parts, with Hyland's surly copper coming off like a cross between Alfred Marks' DS Bellaver in 'Scream and Scream Again' (1970) and Laurence Olivier's down-at-heel Archie in 'The Entertainer' (1960)... the duo get to showcase their vast range as they lure audiences into the author's eerie mystery – one that’s guaranteed to leave you breathless by the end."
~Peter Fuller, KULTGUY'S KEEP
"The duo of James Hyland and Michael Shon really make the dense black box of the Old Red Lion’s stripped-back space work for them. They work with the gloom to present an effective, enjoyable and unnerving two-hander... the piece is a good illustration of how cerebral a thrilling moment can be. Magic Circle does not rely on jumps and cheap shocks, but a fast-paced conversation and coherent set of arguments... It’s good – delivered with complete charisma from both actors and engaging for the audience. There’s comedy, as all good horror should have – which acts as a useful foil to the steadily rising sense of dread they engineer... Superb acting is the order of the day, with both men getting properly absorbed in their characters. They’re able to attract and retain attention for the duration"
~Karl O’Doherty, THE REVIEWS HUB