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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 🙂

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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.

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An Evening of Deception

After all the build up I can’t believe that An Evening of Deception is over. We had a fantastic three days at The Everyman theatre in Cheltenham  and thanks so much to all of you who came to see the show. It was a complete sell-out and I know the box office could have sold plenty more tickets. As I said in the show it meant so much to all of us involved that people spent real money to come and see magic live. Even with the resurgence of magic on TV you can’t beat the experience of seeing magic up close and personal. I spoke to many of the people who came to see the show and often they’d say that they hadn’t seen magic live before and they loved it! This was really important for me as my driving force for setting up the show was to put magic back in theatres. Not big illusion type stuff, that’s not for me, but more contemporary cabaret style magic.

Thanks must go to all of the people involved : Andi Gladwin, magic supremo, for not only booking all the acts but for doing a brand new act himself. His Rubiks Cube routine was one of the most talked about in the show. Rob James made the trip up from Bristol again to show off his classy style of stand-up magic. From Canada we had the unique Tyler Wilson (sorry to those of you on the last night who couldn’t get to see him) and finally the incredible Steve Faulkner. He’s an award winning street performer and deserves much success. His energy, comedy and ability is second to none and you must try and get to see him. He’s starting to put some magic nights on in Sheffield this year so look them up. Huge thanks to Paul Duggan who was our stage manager. He made everything run smoothly and kept us all calm. Maybe next time he’ll perform as well 🙂 Apart from the EoD team, we’re also grateful to Corin, the technical manager at The Everyman was fantastic and helped with all our little problems without complaining. Without him we couldn’t have done it.

As I mentioned in a previous post I performed Larry Becker’s Casino Royale. Thanks to Tyler we added a really great idea for the prediction – a postcard from my honeymoon in Vegas. A great idea that took a great effect and made it fantastic. If you ever need magic inspiration then track Tyler down.

Thanks also to all of the magicians who came to see the show as well. You were all well behaved – apart from a couple and this is where I want to moan. If you’re a magician and you come to see a show please don’t sit in the audience telling your friends/partner/pet rocky racoon how we are doing stuff DURING THE SHOW or even after it for that matter. It’s a magic show. Telling people how we do stuff no longer makes it magic. I love going to see magic shows and I love sitting there being ENTERTAINED. I do not want to tell people how stuff is done because IT SPOILS IT FOR THEM. Of course I discuss methods with fellow magicians but not with laypeople. Oh, and while I’m on the subject, even if you’re not a magician,  and you get picked to help with a trick, why do some of you feel the need to try and screw it up for the performer on stage? Deliberately being cocky and unhelpful and trying to catch them out. Again you’ve come to a magic show to be ENTERTAINED. You get no sympathy from the rest of the audience. What’s the point of trying to make the performer look stupid on stage? They can cope with it, but wouldn’t it be better to see the act they’d rehearsed? AND…relax…..feel better now…

Thankfully 99% of the audience who came to the show didn’t fit the above category – thanks! You were all fantastic and made An Evening of Deception worthwhile. If you did come to see the show then please let us know what you thought by leaving a comment on this blog. All feedback is gratefully received and if anything didn’t work we can fix it for the next time. One thing is for sure – An Evening of Deception will be back!

Finally, here are a few photos that we took backstage and around the show. Some of the show, some backstage, some sneaky “what do magicians use in their dressing room” shots and some other random stuff. Hope you enjoy them.

Theatre_pre-showToilet_roll_predictionTyler_rehearsesTylers_briefcaseAjg_films_some_killer_movesAndi_rubiks_cube_manAndi_tieBackstage_1Cards_and_glueDressing_roomEod_is_readyEod_is_realKnibbsey_opens_the_showEscapologyLouis_spence_makes_a_guest_appearanceMr_f_shuffles_on_cameraOranges_awaiting_the_stagePaul_and_stevePaul_in_position_ready_for_a_set_changeProduction_meetingRob_and_steveSecret_preperationSteve_faulkner_and_friendSteve_gets_hungrySteve_rehearsingSteve_andi_and_steve_ready_for_opening_nightThe_audienceThe_best_dressing_roomThe_eod_crew_are_in_the_house