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An Evening of Deception 2013 and putting on a show

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.