Magic with style and a crocodile – Liz Toonkel has brought a brand new mix of glamour, wit and political subversion to the Fringe with a show that shatters tradition.

Joyful, funny and rich with delightful illusions and sleight of hand, Magic For Animals is an hour of quirky late night fun that deftly tackles a host of issues about animal rights and human agency. It also defies expectations – right to the end.

Liz’s performance has been praised by audiences and critics with To Do List (★★★★) saying: Her performance style is a winner, and she commands the stage with an open, honest and magnetic hour of animals, lols and mini-wows.”

With a huge passion for fashion, Liz created her own fabulous costumes and props – what’s more they are vegan.

And she loves to lampoon the most famous brands – having her own alternative to the world’s most famous handbag, the crocodile-skin Hermes Birkin.

One big difference with her version is that it gets up and walks on its own four webbed feet.

As a queer American Jewish female magician and animal rights activist, Liz felt the magic show format needed shaking up.

In the past the role of women in magic shows has been to get cut in half or disappeared.

But Liz turns the genre on its head. No live animals (though there’s an impressive roster of faux animal performers) or seedy sexism, but lots of laughter plus some political bite. 

Magic For Animals appeals to a new, wider and diverse audience. 

Liz said: Historically, womxn, animals and even fish have only existed in magic as props to be cut in half or miraculously disappeared. I want to fix that. In this show, they are fully embodied subjects given space to speak and swim.

“I also want to offer audiences something sparkling and funny that takes on serious issues about how we treat each other and how we treat animals.

I love to employ humour as a political tool, unpacking comedic tropes to push the idea of a world where all beings are happy and free.”

Liz thrives on storytelling and her work ranges from performance and installations to film. As well as being a professional magician she is also the production designer who shaped the look of films such as Emily the Criminal and the Oscar-nominated Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.

A particular ambition is to serve the LGBTQ community, BIPOC and women. 


Notes for editors

Picture by Colin Hattersley

Listings Details

  • Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Olive Studio (Venue 236)
  • Time: 23:25
  • Dates: 4-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26 August
  • Duration: 50 minutes 
  • Ticket prices: £12 and £10 family and concessions  
  • Advisory: Age 14+. Audience participation, Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes
  • Tickets from

Cast and creatives

  • Company/performer Liz Toonkel

About Liz Toonkel

Liz Toonkelis an all-around creative force who believes in the storytelling power of design in theatre and visual art. Her work, which ranges from performance, installations, and films, strives to wield a power that serves the LGBTQIA community, BIPOC, animals, and womxn. Recent Exhibitions include Aarhus Festuge with Live Art Denmark, Honor Fraser Gallery, LAX Festival, ltd Gallery and the 2016 Queer Biennial in Los Angeles. Having contributed to over 40 projects as a production designer, her credits include the Independent Spirit Award nominated “Emily the Criminal” and A24’s Oscar nominated animated feature “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” for which her work was nominated for an Art Director’s Guild Award. Liz was the first time recipient of the Calarts Distinguished Young Alumnx of the Year Award in 2023 for her work across visual art and film.

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For media information contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786 704299 or at [email protected]