top of page

Book Review of "Becoming Better" by Chris Dugdale

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

As an individual who is new to practising magic and performing, help and guidance from others is always beneficial by any means possible. Particularly from those artists who have a wealth of experience and can offer valuable guidance on all aspects of performance.

Chris Dugdale is one such seasoned performer, famed for his Edinburgh Fringe performances of ETHERMIND, performing on Penn & Teller: Fool Us and his 14 Royal performances. A successful and well known performer in his field, who has put pen to paper to help share his real world experiences of performing professionally. Helping you to consider all aspects of your performance while encouraging you to be you! A book that will help magicians and artists of all skill levels.

"Becoming Better", is authored by Chris and is a joint publication with Zebra Magic. Released as a paperback and available now directly from Chris at: Audio and e-book are also confirmed as coming soon along with distribution deals.

At time of writing, supplies of this book are now limited. Murphy's Magic have taken on a supply with stock available through other sources soon.

The focus of this latest book is on all aspects of performance, as the title suggests. Helping you to recognise valid feedback that you can act upon and effectively use as nuggets of "Gold" to enhance your learning.

The chapters of the book cover all aspects of performing that you can imagine. Starting from note taking and finding counsel through to scripting, editing, practical tidbits and lots more.

This publication does not share effect instructions but gives invaluable advice that will enhance the effects you are learning/performing, if of course you are prepared to act on feedback and sometimes make tough decisions.

"Look for the thorn, not the rose. Look for the scratch and not the shine. The ugly teaches you more than the pretty. We ought never to forget that."

Chris Dugdale

Each main chapter focuses on an aspect of improving performance. Short chapters that are thought provoking. Written in a style that plants seeds, to allow reflection and respects the reader to learn from the experiences shared while encouraging you to be an original artist.

In the same way during the "Scripting" chapter, the point is made not to over explain when talking to the audience, treating the lay man with the sense to follow what is happening - Chris demonstrates that same approach in his own work/writing, giving advice while leaving the reader to follow up on his words by identifying their own gold.

The sections on profiling and the selection of volunteers being a particular highlight for me of great interest. Chris being very knowledgeable in the area having studied with one of the worlds best profilers Dr Julian Boon at Leicester University.

While the book is a relatively short at 150+ pages, it was a long book in its worth. Prompting thoughts that allow you to consider all aspects of performing that you may not have fully considered e.g respecting theatre technicians, management of late theatre audiences and more. The book effectively encouraging self reflection and thought as you work through the chapters and ideas presented.

The book closes with a useful 101 section, where Chris expands on his ideas in quick fire and easily digestible pieces of advice. Advice that in some instances expands on previous chapters and in some cases, shares information about new aspects of performance to consider, such as improv and silence.

The real world application of this book is wide ranging and can help performers in fields beyond magic and theatre. A motivational read that left me feeling accomplished, encouraging new methods and ways to deal with all aspects of artist presentation that I had not considered. A sure fire quick way to gain experience.

I personally felt that I learned many invaluable lessons as Chris takes you through this learning journey. A valuable book that I am sure that I will keep referencing and using and now sits proudly on display within my collection. Written in a factual style with learnings and advice that Chris shares, with injections of humour. Much wisdom is imparted that when you finish reading, I felt that I had invested time wisely by reading this book which would enhance my abilities to perform magic.

Whether you are new to performing or experienced, the book will provide an insight into how you can make sure you are "Becoming Better".

"A small book offering big changes"

Chris Dugdale

"Becoming Better" by Chris Dugdale is available now at

At time of writing, supplies are now limited. Murphy's Magic have taken on a supply with stock available through other sources soon.

Thank you to Chris for supplying a review copy of his book to Magic Seats.

Additional reading on Chris Dugdale:

Chris Dugdale website

Magic Seats interview

Magic Seats "XYA" book review

Also, listen to Chris talk about his book on You Tube.


Related Posts

bottom of page