Fringe Preview: Piff the Magic Dragon

Piff the Magic Dragon - plus showgirl. Picture: contributed

Piff the Magic Dragon - plus showgirl. Picture: contributed

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MAGICIAN John van der Put made his Fringe debut as Piff the Magic Dragon in 2009.

Ever since, the sight of him in his green, red and yellow dragon costume, accompanied by Mr Piffles, his chihuahua (in a matching dragon costume) has been commonplace in the Capital during August.

This year, however, as he returns with his new show Direct From Las Vegas, which runs at the George Square Theatre until August 13, things have changed.

He’s an international star now, all thanks to the TV show America’s Got Talent. Here, John explained why he chose America’s Got Talent over Britain’s Got Talent.

“Two words. Howard Stern. The Godfather of radio. A cultural icon. Immortalised in the movie Private Parts. How do you compete with that? And I haven’t even mentioned Heidi Klum. A genuine supermodel. A. Super. Model. Basically a Princess. Every dragon’s dream. Although sadly out of my reach. Literally. I would need a ladder.

“So those two had a lot to do with it.

“Also, the live rounds were at Radio City Music Hall. A legendary room – I was on the same stage as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Liberace, Ray Charles and BB King. Who would have thought a little magic dragon from the UK would appear at Radio City Music Hall more times than Celine Dion?

“But the main reason that I chose AGT over BGT was because I live in America now.

“Mr Piffles and I moved there in 2013 to escape the endless rain in a show at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“Within a year we had duetted with Shania Twain at The Colosseum, written a joke for Carrot Top, worked on new material with Penn & Teller and sold Hollywood star Brad Garrett a stale croissant for $1600.

“When the Cosmo show closed I decided I loved Las Vegas so much I’d find a way to stay. America’s Got Talent was the only route. It put me in the living rooms of the American public for three months solid.

“Once people saw my act, it turns out, the USA is a great country for magical dragons. Mr Piffles and I have been on tour ever since. We spend three days in Las Vegas, headlining at the world famous Flamingo Hotel and Casino right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, then Thursday through Sunday we are on the road performing at theatres, comedy clubs, 
casinos and private parties all over the country.

“Dog Bless America.”

Until August 13, 8.30pm, £10-£13.50, 0131-226 0000