Friday, 1 May 2015

Special Requests

I have always believed that close up magic is one of the most powerful forms of entertainment. A good magician should  always strive to enchant, however they can also calm, excite, shock terrify, what ever the moment calls for (I personally prefer to enchant and incite conversations and interest in the world around us and the people there in btw, but I've done all of the the above when requested).

  However a magician offers more than an emotional experience, they can help waiting staff when orders get delays, disseminate information at an event, be watchful for lost children at a festival, they are basically all round problem solvers.

There are times as well though where a special request has to be made of the magician. One such case was last Saturday at "The Mad Catter's Ball"in aid of Poppies Place Animal Rescue, a fantastic animal shelter here in Essex . We were asked to think of a special magic prize to be given away on a sort of tombola wall. 52 envelopes were placed on the wall each with a different playing card on it. Another pack of cards was shuffled and for a fee a member of the public got to pick a card at random. They then get the contents of the envelop with the matching card. Often it was a gift voucher donated by a local store but we were asked to involve magic for 5 of these envelopes.
 Our client suggested a magic trick just for that person. Whilst a good idea we were performing for everyone all night so an extra trick might not have done the job. Then I had an idea, the voucher that says "go and see the magician" could be handed to the magician  who would magically turn it into a free cocktail voucher.

This actually involved a little extra study on my behalf however it was a skill I was planning on learning anyway. The moral here is "Don't be afraid to ask for a special request". However if it involves the magician teleporting  a car or levitating the reception hall with zero notice your magician may be unable to accommodate :)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

BresSteam in Bressingham

Slowly I have unfolded myself from the car after a superb weekend enjoying Bressingham's Steam Park and Garden.

The event was organized by epic Steampunk Band "Thy Last Drop" and staff at Bressingham Steam Park and Gardens.

At this event we were fortunate to have Steampunk Shenanigans on site. This trio of adventures host a variety of Steampunk games such as Tea Duelling, Umbrella Fencing and Airship Shooting.  Two of the bands were also known to us, Thy Last Drop and Metropolis. A third band, Gladstone came with the recommendation that they knew what they were doing. And there we have the crux of the matter. We knew we could trust everyone there, no-one was going to interfere with anyone, put anyone down or put their needs over anyone else's. Everyone was there with one aim in mind. Not to make themselves look good but to make sure that the visitors had a good time !

 This attitude wasn't just seen in the performers, the staff at the Steam Park were united in our cause as well. Hollywood films would like to have you think that when you have staff who run a venue meet outsiders that there would be friction. But there never is. In 4 years of gigging I have ALWAYS been made to feel welcomed by venue staff.

The venue was stunning. A mixture of Victorian fairground, World War Two scenery and a touch of mad scientist machinery. The moment we walked in our imaginations were fired up and ready to go! Darren prepared his monologue, an exert from the superb "Leopold Thorn" stories. I started hunting out good places to go up to groups of people to perform close up magic.

In the space of the first day I performed to at least 25 groups of people (some rather large). One thing I LOVE about close up magic is how it can be adapted to the event. Sometimes I used a Victorian spin, other times a mad scientist theme run through the series of effects. The gardens with their steam powered fairground ride

Day two was rather different. We saw a LOT of young families come in. Unlike day one these were people visiting the park for it's own sake and not for the steampunk event. I was asked to perform to everyone however and luckily I have a solid children's set to build on. After a morning of performing to young and old, Steampunk to regular Garden visitor I settled in for a close up routine inside. The mixture of Steampunk Shenanigans and Darren's story telling worked so well we decided an intense 30 minute close up session would fit well into the schedule. I was set up in a replica of Mr. Mannerings office from Dad's Army. The setting combined with the surrounding mad sciences reminded me of an experiment in World War Two which I replicated.By having a table and control over the surroundings I was able to delve further into deep psychological  magic. It's ironic how a performance to 25 people in a room can be more intimate than performing to just one person outside.

The whole event was quite frankly superb. I have to mention the most excellent photographers who came along,  Towillen Steampunk Photographers. Hopefully I'll be able to show off the fruits of their labours soon.

Monday, 23 March 2015