We’ve done it again – sold out our magic show in a Cheltenham for the fourth year running. An Evening of Deception was an idea I had with Andi Gladwin and Paul Duggan in a pub a few years ago. We all wanted to see live magic near where we lived and went to see a show at a local theatre. Without naming names it was pretty terrible. A guy with a table full of tricks bumbling his way through them in no particular order in the name of entertainment. It was exactly what magic shouldn’t be. So, we hatched a plan.
I had a few contacts at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham and pitched the idea for a show. We slotted into their Cabaret week and sold out our one night pretty quickly. It was great fun. In fact posts elsewhere on this this blog catalogue how the other shows ran.
This year we sold out again and I think it was our best year yet. The studio at the theatre only holds 42 seats which is great for stand up magic. Having performed an act for last year’s show I was looking forward to just compering this year but due to one of our performers having to pull out a couple of weeks before the show I had to come up with an act to fill the gap. We tried to find another magician but no one was available for all four nights. So I reached for the magic bookshelf once again and had a rummage.
As you may know, my magic collection, like many other hobbiests, is way too big. But having so many books means there are thousands of tricks and effects to choose from. It was actually great fun trying to find the tricks to do but I had to make sure they were straightforward enough to rehearse and get ready for the show in just 10 days. Add in to that a full time job to do as well! i plumped for Timeless by Liam Montier, Vino Aces by John Guestaferro and Heist from Andy Nyman.
Timeless is fantastic and I’ve been wanting to try it out for an audience for a long time. The same goes for Vino Aces. I first saw it performed by John at The Session convention. It’s a lovely and elegant update of a classic card effect, MacDonald’s Aces. I’m no card monkey and it does require some basic sleights which I’m more than capable of doing. However, doing in front of a live audience meant the nerves kicked in and the shaky hand syndrome struck. Nothing went wrong, but I’m sure many performers will empathise!
Heist by Andy Nyman is simply stunning. A routine where a spectator puts one of their own banknotes into one of four numbered envelopes. He doesn’t know which one. Then another spectator selects a random set of instructions telling him to shred three of the envelopes leaving just one – which contains the spectators banknote! The kicker is that the magician correctly predicted which envelope the money would be put in and which set of introduction would be chosen. It’s a fantastic routine that includes risk, tension, comedy and drama. I highly recommend it. The fun part was getting the props made up. It’s all routines around a gameshow format “Let’s Shred Some Cash!” I think I ordered enough different envelopes to open a stationery shop of my own! Again, magicians will know what I mean 🙂
So all in all the show went brilliantly well. If you’re a magician and have always wanted to put on a show then my advice is to go for it. There’s a real appetite for it amongst audiences and they consistently told us they were blown away and didn’t realise that seeing magic live was so good! I couldn’t agree more. If you are planning on putting on a show then I’m more than happy to offer some advice. We’ve learnt a lot along the way and are always trying to do things better.
Anyway, for the curious here are a few behind the scenes pics for you to have a look at.
When I first became interested in magic again about 15 years ago I was, like 99% of hobbiests, obsessed with buying magic. With no ties, cheap rent and a good disposable income I pretty much bought what I want and when I want. I ended up with a lot of rubbish but some great stuff.
I always had a different approach for magic books. I truly saw them as an investment and a font of knowledge from the historical texts to the latest and greatest. I always saved for the good ones – not in the selfish hobbiest desire to own the “must haves” – but because I wanted to read and re-read something that was tangible and would always be there to go back to. To get more from when I felt the need.
These days with a mortgage and a family I choose my purchases carefully. Yes, I still suffer from buying the odd bit of crap at conventions and also some great effects, but nowhere near as much as I once did. But I always save up for good books. There are two on my shopping list that should arrive in the next few months.
Bulletproof – Andy Nyman
I’ve always been a fan of Andy’s magic and mentalism. I first met him about ten years ago when he was dealing at a Mark Leveridge convention in Bath. His effects always have a great hook and his thinking is original. He’s now put it all in print with a limited edition book produced by Todd Karr’s Miracle Factory. I’ve been patiently waiting for this book seeing as I pre-ordered it in September 2009. I hear it’s back from the printers and should be shipping soon. Todd’s material takes time due to the quality of the production. If I’m honest, I think this one has taken too long, but as long as it turns up soon I won’t become grumpy about it.
The Berglas Effects – David Berglas
Next year Richard Kaufman publishes a long awaited book on the card magic of David Berglas. I was lucky enough to buy one of the last copies of “The Mind and Magic of David Berglas” (below). It’s an incredible work authored by David Britland and is a fascinating read about the career and effects created by a man who’s legendary status is well deserved. The card magic book is anticipated by magicians due to “The Berglas Effect” – the holy grail of card magic. An effect where a spectator names a card and a number and the card is at that position in the deck. Just google “The Berglas Effect” to see what I mean. Also stay tuned to this blog for my own personal experience of it.