Archives for posts with tag: Magician

After Dinner Cabaret

Although I perform predominately as a close up magician, I do also have a cabaret act that I perform as after dinner entertainment. The cabaret act I perform can last between 10 and 25 minutes and involves a mixture of routines from audience interaction to visual magic that can be watched passively. More often than not I perform this act having worked my way around the tables earlier in the evening. This makes life a little easier as I remember people’s names and, hopefully, the guests are more interested in my act as I have met them before. The cabaret act I perform seems to be a nice way to make the magic more of a feature of the evening and brings the entertainment to a natural conclusion. It’s also a nice prelude to any speeches or other activities. I have performed the cabaret act at weddings and private parties which are great fun as I can involve key guests in the show! On Friday night I performed at a charity event and as part of the promises auction they offered the opportunity to be the “Glamorous Assistant” in the cabaret show. The bidder happened to be a parent of the child in the photo. We performed a 15 minute cabaret act together which I had planned as an impromptu double act. It was such fun to do and the audience reaction exceeded all expectations. It brought a level of comedy to the act that really made the evening.
It’s worth mentioning that the art of magic is so versatile and being able to involve other people, products or themes is more than possible.
For Larger events I perform a stage illusion act. The scale of this show is much larger and appropriate for venues with the space and technical set up to accommodate the act. For more information pleases visit http://www.youngandstrange.co.uk

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I’m lucky enough to have performed magic on the radio on several occasions. That sounds like an odd thing to say as “magic on the radio” sounds like a terrible idea…..How can an art that is so visual work with someone who is listening in the car or at home? 

There are plenty of tricks and performances which can work on the radio and appeal to people outside of the studio. I performed a trick on air last year where the prediction or revelation of the effect was in the Classified section of the local newpaper- it seemed to be well received both by the presenter and the listeners.

On Saturday morning I was interviewed on BBC Radio York. This was in order to promote a theatre show I am performing in on Valentines day. It was refreshing to be interviewed without being asked to perform as well. It gave the presenter and an opportunity to ask some interesting questions about magic and performance. The link to the interview is below and it starts at about 1 hours and 4 minutes in. The presenter is Russel Walker who is clearly a magic enthusiast, which was a real benefit in the interview.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001pz3g/broadcasts/2014/02

 

 

 

 

 

   

Earlier this week I was performing in Berlin at an economics conference. The conference was hosted by a company called Oxera and there were a number of professors and guests with many letters after their names; never have I felt so academically inadequate……

I have performed at a number of all-day conferences and they can, at times, be a challenge. The guests tend to spend most of the day in lectures and seminars, with my job to entertain at interludes during the day. This can create quite a sedate atmosphere and the guests, having flown in from all over the world, are understandably keen to talk about the subject matter. Interrupting conversations, especially when English is not the delegates first language, can be difficult. Having said that, after the first 2 or 3 groups that I performed for, it soon became clear that a magician was circulating and the guests were increasingly receptive.

Having performed at pretty much all the Oxford colleges and many academic events, they are always fun. Without creating a sweeping generalisation academics like to analyse, understand and dissect the magic. This interest in understanding the mechanics and methods makes the magic easier to perform. The more attentive an audience is, the easier they are to misdirect and subsequently fool. At times though, I wish some people would simply sit back and enjoy the performance, as entertainment, rather than a game of self-congratulatory “one up man ship” which magic shouldn’t be. 

 

 

 

The Christmas Party season is well underway and it’s a busy time of year for magicians around the country. Quite a few parties started in November and I do have a number of “Christmas” events booked in for January. It’s important to remember that some businesses are busy in December and it’s simply not practical to have a party in the lead up to Christmas. 

I have to say that I do love performing magic. Having performed professionally for about 8 or 9 years now I still enjoy it, very much so. Christmas parties can sometimes be a bit difficult though, especially when competing with loud music, streamer balloons and, something that is all too common, the drunken party goer….

As a rule, the more you drink the better the magic will look, but from time to it can be difficult to battle with a drunken heckler who is consistently disruptive. Don’t get me wrong, I do love interaction and joking with disruptive guests, however a line has to be drawn somewhere. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to do a great job at a table when you simply don’t get the opportunity to speak or deliver the magic. This can happen when you get a guest who is a few sheets to the wind and constantly wants to be centre of attention. I tend to think that the skill of handling people is more of a talent than the sleight of hand involved in any magic act. I have a keen interest in comedy and I have learnt lots from watching comedians handle hecklers and drunks.

Irrespective of the situation, including the inevitable abuse from the occasional drunken guest, it is important to maintain professionalism. At no point in my career have I lost control or been abusive back, despite the temptation to do so! I am in the fortune position to walk away from guests who are continually rude- a luxury that a stage magician or comedian doesn’t have.

I do have a real range of events booked in for the coming days. Last night was the Ericsson Christmas party with 500 guests and tonight is a family party of 16. I do enjoy the range of performances and every event is an experience which I can learn from…..  

Recently I performed at an event alongside another magician. A magician that I had never met or heard of before.

Now, I thoroughly appreciate that any performer, the magic they perform and their style of performance is subjective. I get that.

This magician was absolutely terrible. 

He probably goes down as the worst magician I have ever met. I’ve met a lot of magicians too.

All too often magicians are heavily critical of other performers and often this emotion is envy or insecurity. Having said that, I feel my resentment towards my “colleague” was thoroughly justified. This magician was absolutely terrible. Almost, without sounding contradictory, astoundingly terrible.

The actual magic he performed was simple and with no skill on part of the performer. Surprisingly it wasn’t his actual magic that I grew to dislike. It was the magician himself. He was unprofessional, telling me on one occasion “I’m going to do as little magic as possible this evening as I’m not feeling in the right mood”. He was defensive and not at all personable. His personal hygiene was non existent- dirty hands and fingernails, not to mention the odd attire and body odour. His props looked battered and, what’s the word….grubby?

It goes without saying that he was sold as an “additional extra” by the company running the casino tables after the meal and by no stretch of the imagination was he a professional magician.

So, why do I actually care less? The problem is that for every event or table that magician performs at, he damages the reputations of magicians everywhere. There are so many truly brilliant magicians performing today who constantly get rejected, and told “I don’t like magicians” , by guests at events. The reason 9 times out of 10 is that their perception of magic is based on a terrible close up magician they saw once.

I genuinely wish there was a distinction between a guy that does a couple of card tricks and a “Magician”. Lumping us all together simply isn’t fair…..

So what’s the lesson? The lesson is to only ever book a magician you have seen footage of, up to date pictures and reliable testimonials. Either that or go on recommendation. Better still go with someone you have seen before, if possible. 

    

  

Having been a full time magician for about 8 years now I have been lucky enough to perform at a huge range of events. Events that vary in scale, budget and organisation. Some of the best events to perform at are the more intimate birthday parties and weddings. However, working on larger corporate functions can be a real eye opener. An example of this was an event I performed at last week. It was hosted in a beautiful venue in Harrogate. They had everything you could think of. Included were a flash mob (a group of dancers who appear out of nowhere- some of which were disguised as waiting staff and other guests), a caricaturist, a silhouette artist, a piano that plays itself and a fireworks display. Oh and that obviously excludes the chocolate fountain, popcorn machine AND ice sculpture in the foyer. More often than not having too many activities in the evening can be an overload for the guests, some of which just wanted to enjoy some good conversation! Nevertheless I think the organisers were happy and the event seemed to be a success. 

I’m still a firm believer that you don’t have to throw money at an event to make it truly brilliant- Some of best events I have ever done have been some of the simplest. 

Although it’s September, it is this time in the year when my focus turns to Christmas Parties. Corporate clients are normally pretty proactive at getting things booked in and I have already received a handful of bookings for December. I am really looking forward to the Christmas rush. It’s such a great time as spirits are always high and most events are great fun as a consequence. Christmas parties vary hugely in scale and intimacy. Over December I will perform for small parties of 5-6 people, right the way through to huge scale corporate functions where I will be working with teams of magicians. The real beauty of such a range of performances is that I leave every event with that little bit more experience under my belt. 

Magic Circle Promotion

Last week I reached a real milestone in my Career. I was promoted to become an Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle. It was a real privileged to receive this award and is the highest award achievable through examination.
To many outside of the magic community it won’t mean a thing, but it is nice to get recognition from Magic Circle Members and peers within the industry. The award was given to me for a performance I gave at the Magic Circle Headquarters last month. Thanks to all who made this possible- it’s done what good awards should do which is inspire and motivate me to constantly improve.

Most of the Corporate Events I perform at are evening functions and, more often than not, the guests have been in training sessions or meetings all day. This can make for a great event, as the guests welcome the more relaxed sociable, atmosphere that the evening brings. Consequently the Magic is well received and great fun to perform.

However, from time to time I am asked to perform as part of the training day, with the idea of injecting some entertainment into training sessions. This can be tricky as the guests are not always in the right frame of mind and the sometimes stale atmosphere of a training room is a challenge.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been working for Miele, the German appliance company, doing a similar thing. I perform 4 sessions a day alongside a cookery demonstration that is taking place. Some of the magic I perform is themed with the kitchen, and the entertainment is an interlude between the procedure of cooking the food. It’s a tricky gig (the pun was thoroughly intended). Delegates, certainly in the morning sessions, are a tough crowd and it’s an odd atmosphere to perform in. However I have relished the challenge and have got great enjoyment from performing in the sessions. Cookery themed tricks and jokes are now very much part of my close up repertoire!    

When is the “Wedding Season”? I’m lucky enough to perform at weddings all year round and it seems to me that there is a 12 month window for the so called Wedding Season.

Having said that, I have performed at 5 weddings in the past 2 weeks and there is no doubt that the summer months are the most popular.

Weddings are among the best events to do, in my opinion. The whole feel of the day is a celebration and that makes the Magic all that more successful.  (A stark contrast from entertaining some corporate guests, who have been in meetings and seminars all day).

Typically for most weddings, I’ll perform at the drinks reception and then follow this with some table magic, in between the courses of the wedding breakfast.  

This tends to work well as it’s an icebreaker to begin with and allows me to meet most guests prior to approaching the tables. (A fair criticism of wearing a tie and a suit to perform in is that I could be confused for an Estate Agent, or double glazing salesman?!). Breaking the ice and creating a bit of a buzz during the drinks reception, immediately disarms any scepticism when I approach tables later.

I’m getting married next year and the process of organising my wedding has given me a renewed empathy and understanding for each wedding I attend. It’s a real honour to be invited to entertain the guests and make an impact on a day that will be so memorable.

When is the wedding season?  Who cares, I love the wedding season!

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