Reviews of previous meetings
Such a fun evening with Zane's Magic Shop last night at The Anglian Magic Society. It was lovely to see some of the forgotten and overlooked magic tricks that still pack a punch along with some really cool new effects that are Zane's personal favourites. Zane performed and talked about his experiences as a magic dealer in these modern times as well as insights into his life as a performer on the ocean waves, cabaret circuits and corporate events, you can tell from the advice he gave that Zane has more or less done everything and now he has taken on the roll as author! Zane's new book is the story of a boy who finds magic and along the way the reader learns a trick or two themselves :-) For more details go to Zane's Magic Shop website. All in all it was a very entertaining and informative night of magic, Zane is a lovely chap and in our relaxed atmosphere was the perfect guest. Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC.
Jon delivered a fantastic lecture full of practical and workable material for the magic and mentalism markets. There was something for everyone, from the close up worker, to the family entertainers and cabaret performers. All the routines stood out, for me Jon's take on the torn and restored napkin involving a selected child from the audience was an instant worker, and his notes on his now classic routines Flexion and Paragon 3D were perfect.
You can tell Jon loves what he does and I'm sure there is another lecture waiting to spring forward with more of his creative ideas. Jon's humour and fun pokes at the way 'us magicians' do things made for a very fun and entertaining evening enjoyed by all. If you haven't seen Jon lecture or would like to learn more click on the link below - Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC.
Jake presented an insightful lecture, detailing his experiences as a professional entertainer. During the first half of the lecture several comedy stunts and family magic routines were shown with notes on how these routines could be changed and themed to suit most occasions.
The second half of the lecture was in regards to using a rabbit during your shows and how to train them. You could tell that Jake had researched this in great detail and provided personal experiences on how to make the rabbits training go smoothly.
This was a great lecture from Jake and having the company of "Star" the magic rabbit added a pet friendly feel to the evening - Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC.
Fab night at the AMS last night with James Stubbs putting on an entertaining lecture with his coin routine expertly put through it's paces with good clear explanations, also James did some personal work with some of the younger and older members during the interval and in the second half went through his card routine again with a clear and concise explanation - (Stephen Bolam).
Brilliant evening last night. A privilege to share James Stubbs insight, knowledge and expertise - (Daniel Forde-Pogson).
It’s always a fun and relaxed atmosphere within the walls of the Anglian Magic Society and on this evening, of our annual close up magic competition, it was also buzzing! Five contestants were prepared and with that slight nervousness along with excitement waited for the crowd to settle. I was one of those contestants and as the names were drawn out of the close up winners trophy I was on first!
Our guest professional judges Steve Kovares and Ray Wiley were seated and the camera was focused on the performing area, on this occasion we also had a specially invited camera man to capture the event for our contestants. Billy Groves our treasurer announced “Please welcome Steve Majes!” That’s me!
There was great variety in the competition with the effects and presentations and I was first off the bat. Standing behind the close up table I presented a relatively classic sponge ball routine with the theme of bitcoins, transactions moving from one account to another with the inevitable market crash with all the balls vanishing. I also presented a comical card prediction and finished on an ESP card matching effect, with the idea that opposites attract.
The audience were warm and very responsive as Graham Bull, our next selected performer was announced. Graham is a creative performer and always presents quirky and fun routines and on this occasion he had help from a magical version of Alexa in the form of a responsive miniature robot. After producing a bottle of champagne from some draped handkerchiefs (a bribe for the judges) Graham invited a willing audience member to take part in a jumbo 3 card monte effect where of course Graham won with a surprising climax. During his performance Graham chatted and dropped in the odd ‘poke fun at your magical friends in the form of pictorial humour’. Three audience members were seated next in a multiple mind reading revelation involving Hollywood party bags, countries, drinks and painted masterpieces, Grahams version of Alexa correctly revealed the outcome, what a handy thing she is!
Time for the third performer and one of our local BGT stars Jeffrey Drayton. Jeff is a naturally entertaining guy and has talents in many areas from building illusions, constructing major balloon sculptures and poetry. This being the release date for his new book “Poems from the Cannon” Jeff’s close up routine was poetic to the theme of gambling. Dressed in wild west regalia Jeff’s multiple colour changing cards routine was an epic, some forgotten lines inspired some off the cuff banter and really added to the fun of the evening. Jeff had a change of costume for his second poem of gambling loss as he drank Gin and headed to Las Vegas. Jeff’s enthusiasm and natural humour is always infectious and he received a rousing cheer as he finished his set. For Jeff’s new book go to https://www.chantelmania.com/shop.
There was short intermission as the judges gathered themselves after Jeff’s performance and our thirsty members headed to the bar.
The fourth contestant is one of our youngest members and one to watch! It’s great to see the influx of younger members into our society, something we continue to encourage and build on. Kenzie being one of those has a natural conversational patter which really gives his performance great flow and is very endearing. Performing a comical restored bank note routine and reacting to the spectators actions with one liners and pauses are the signs of a future pro. Card locations and a fast paced 3 card monte routine had the seated spectator caught out and visually surprised. The roar from the crowd and the applause was well deserved.
It was time for the final contestant and reigning champion of the close up trophy, James Stubbs. James is a very smart and slick performer and continued to demonstrate this with a coin and card matrix and a lovely coins through table top using a portable hole, this routine had a lovely finish as the stack of coins all visually vanished with the wave of the hand and no noise! Standing up James finished his set with a multiple penetrating ring on and off a solid rope routine, this also had a cod cut and restored rope segment thrown in as the explanation. A lovey act to finish the competition on, so who was the winner?
I think the evening would have been as great a success with this just being a performance night, the performers and crowd were so supportive of each other. This being a competition the results are 3rd place Kenzie, 2nd place Steve Majes, 1st place James Stubbs. James takes the trophy home for a second year and well deserved too! We all joked that it would be an easy job for the engraver, with only ditto marks to engrave lol.
Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC
This was a brand new lecture from a master of card magic!
John has the amazing mind and magical ability to refine those complicated card tricks down into workable miracles. Every time he has lectured for us there has been new effects that everyone could use strait away and he explains them so well. So join us again as John opens the doors to this his brand new lecture for 2018.
Mark is a legend among the professional magicians and has provided us over the years with many practical hard hitting and fun routines, and he hasn’t stopped! In his lecture he shared this wealth of material and also promoted his online e-club where you could dip in and watch explanation videos and study different areas of the magic art from a massive Leverage archive -
Through the lecture a great variety of magic was taught with close up magic, stage magic, mind reading and the odd magician fooler. Mark presented his lecture with energy and flare with some crazy stories of things that didn’t quite go to plan. Highlights for me were a lovely stylish version of cards across, a fun magician fooler with three ropes, the novel use of a pen in your pocket and a lovely adaption of the appearing silk while tying a knot in a rope. There were many more routines touching on mentalism and coin work that had may sitting forward to watch. If you couldn’t attend the lecture and would like to see Mark’s material please visit his website for more information and maybe join his e-club.
Review by Steve Majes MMC and secretary of The Anglian Magic Society.
It was presidents night and Chris North graciously agreed to present his very successful comedy mind reading show, after a number of years touring this show Chris was retiring this particular incarnation to focus on a couple of new projects. It was a great turn out of members and guests, even with the world cup on television and Derren Brown playing to packed houses down the road Chris still drew a good crowd.
The show had many fun elements with Chris’s humour leading the way, along with many original tweaks and twists to keep even the wisest mentalist in the audience on their toes. Audience participation plays a big part in the show, Chris always makes the spectators feel comfortable, poking more fun at himself on many occasions.
Starting the show with balled up papers thrown to random members of the crowd and having them construct a card between them seemed simple enough, the amazing part was that on unfolding the papers thrown to them the exact card was revealed. Chris now had control of our minds! Next a group of five spectators took to the stage with a lie detector routine using children’s play blocks, this was a real fun start to the show, of course like the best CSI investigator Chris found the liar. A jumbo game of Whist was played by two spectators with a well shuffled pack of jumbo cards, even though the cards were shuffled and dealt by a third spectator Chris, well away and out of direct sight from the area, could name the cards they were about to play and predict the winner. Chris mentioned that this skill was taught to him by another mentalist while he was working on the cruise ships. Next we were taken into the world of the unexplained and slightly spooky with a haunted school bell that would ring while suspended by a string or held very still by a spectator. The story goes that the bell is possessed by an old school teacher, she also made herself known by writing on two blank slates that were being held by a young audience member. Away from the spooks Chris put everything on the line, his wallet, his watch and his wedding ring, which came with a wife, mortgage and house hold bills. The challenge and skill was for Chris to find the right key to open the locked box, with his life in, amongst five other similar looking keys. This was done while his back was turned just by listening to the tinkle of each key as it were tapped against a drinking glass, it was a close call but Chris did save his wallet, watch and marriage!
There were many more challenges to come as Chris did an emotional and fun multiple chair style prediction with three spectators, there was also a drawing duplication of a thought of picture and a heart stopping smash and stab routine where Chris, using his knowledge of body language, just missed impaling himself on a steel spike! The finale of the show was a truly unexpected and remarkable revelation of a spectators birth date revealing a playing card that had been predicted and then there time of birth revealed on a clock that had been frozen in time by removing the batteries, the fore-mentioned clock had been on stage from the very start of the show. The whole show was a fun journey through some amazing stunts and some very strange happenings skilfully conducted by a true gentleman of magic - Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC and secretary of The Anglian Magic Society.
There are those great people in magic that you would definitely love to spend an afternoon in a coffee shop with chatting about magical ideas and seeing what marvels spring into life. Marcus would be at the top of that list! On picking Marcus up from his hotel it was like I had known him for years as his relaxed nature and conversation flowed, like meeting an old friend.
Marcus is one of the nicest and most charming people you will ever meet and add to this his amazing skill and forward thinking to create an experience and you have a magic superstar on your hands. As our members arrived in the bar area and through the main doors Marcus greeted everyone and introduced himself beginning a conversation that would carry everyone through a fun and fabulous evening of impromptu magic that made you feel that the magic was happening “In the moment!”
Marcus started his performance and lecture greeting the crowd and during conversation led into a surreal moment of magic in the action of removing a small splinter from his finger, this had everyone sitting forward with instant applause. One effect transitioned smoothly into the next with a lovely version of a broken and restored cocktail stick, this brought back memories of the childhood trick with the handkerchief and matchstick, Marcus’s presentation brought this effect up to date with a modern and stylish look, the method was devilish! This impromptu style of magic happening within a conversation really took the heat off any technical handling that may be at play, saying this the technical moves to create the effects were natural and covered themselves in plain sight, that was the devilish part!
There was plenty for everyone, with impromptu and minimal set up of effects with cocktail sticks (Splinter and Snapkin), a very visual ring penetrating routine with a key ring (Something Borrowed) and a fantastic impossible balancing bottle effect (Water Weigh). This was just the first half which Marcus finished with a perfect appearing deck of cards within an empty card case, this was to be explained in the second half. During the interval many gathered around with questions and a few of our young members showed some of their effects with great feedback from Marcus. Marcus mentioned that he was very impressed at the young talent within our group, I very much agreed.
After the break it was time for a couple of card effects, this lecture was not heavy in card tricks and the couple that Marcus presented were very visual stand up routines (Reload and Blind Cut). All the magic featured in the lecture was worked from minimal pocket space, no table needed and most had an instant reset. Next Marcus presented an effect where two initialed coins transposed and then the initials transposed with an anniversary waltz type finale, a personal revelation of a word from a jumble of letters on a dated, folded piece of paper (Malfunction), a confabulation style effect using post it notes (Post It Note Prediction) and to finish a fantastic bank note and elastic band multiple penetration (Stairway).
Every effect was explained extremely well, with Marcus standing at different locations amongst the members so that everyone could see and understand the handling. Even after the lecture, when only a few of our members and a couple of visitors from the UEA magic society remained, Marcus was offering ideas and advice on effects that were being shown to him. This kind of brainstorming is priceless and left the remaining group energised and eager to develop their effects.
This was such a valuable evening of creativity and simplicity of method presented by a very talented and warm-hearted performer, it would be a pleasure to have Marcus back to lecture on a future visit to the UK.
Reviewed by Steve Majes MMC and Secretary of The Anglian Magic Society.
This was an eye opening and fascinating lecture delivered by Steve Short in the run up to his new book being released “Johnny Hart International Star of Magic”. It’s was heart warming and also very revealing to see how Johnny’s career and personal life interacted with each other as he climbed the entertainment ladder to great success. From the devotion to his craft and the people that influenced him along the way, intermingled with the pressure and pitfalls of this unsociable and then intensely sociable job, it was a story that took you back to a time when we had huge stars in entertainment and Johnny worked with all of them! With rare photos and video clips to bring the stories to life and showing Johnny’s visual skill in action and how it developed over time was a joy to see. There were details shared that were not in the upcoming book and the book will have details not revealed in the lecture, so order your book now! I’m very much looking forward to this fascinating read.
Review by Steve Majes MMC and Secretary of The Anglian Magic Society.
The Oliver Graham Lecture “The F Word”
I’m sure Ollie won’t mind me saying that the “F Word” stands for “Family”. Straight off the bat I have to say that this is one of the best lectures I’ve seen on the subject of family magical entertainment. Ollie was fun, informative and full of routines that you could put straight into your show, Ollie did mention that most of the routines still feature in his act and I’m not surprised as they play so well.
Ollie has a philosophy that I totally agree with, the magical entertainment should be amazing, engaging and play not only to children but to teens and adults, in this way drawing everyone in to watch and enjoy your show. Ollie delivered routines and experienced professional techniques that really captured and pushed this message forward all presented in a very entertaining and fun way.
To mention a few of the routines, Ollie did a fabulous large ring on rope with a young volunteer, it was lively, clever and so much fun to watch with some great tips for us to use. A lovely fun slant on the card to mouth effect, with us all wanting to go and buy a leaf blower lol. Also add to the shopping list an indoor flying drone! Ollie uses a lot of popular objects in his magic and steers well away from the usual magic props associated with children and family entertainment. There was so much in the lecture from amazing magic to mind reading and the time just flew buy! If you are a working family entertainer or cabaret performer this is a lecture you will love to see with routines you will use and if your not you will have a fun and very entertaining evening. Win/win!
Review by Steve Majes MMC and Secretary of The Anglian Magic Society.
It's hard to comprehend just how much Chris North has done in his career, and as he looks back I think Chris feels the same way. Inspired to become an illusionist at a young age after seeing an illusion act Chris purchased some classic illusions and presenting them in his own style soon became billed as Britain's youngest illusionist.
Working his act in on the working men's clubs circuit was a tough gig, the stories that Chris regales from this time in his life would make a modern day entertainers feet curl. Slowly Chris's reputation grew and he gained some lucky breaks on television with spots on "The Wheeltappers and Shunters", "321" and the most high profile "New Faces" watch by over 22 million people. The story behind "New Faces" and how Chris came second but due to a disqualification of the winner then received first place is a fascinating story and was a publicity dream come true as it hit all the newspapers and made Chris a household name and sent his career stratospheric. From this Chris worked with many major stars including the legendary Bob Monkhouse and Morecambe and Wise, then he spent years cruising the world with his illusions on some of the most famous cruise ships, and after appearing on an advert for one of the cruise lines became a housed name in Australia!
Telling you all this just gives you the tip of the iceberg from Chris's work as he will tell you himself there have been many ups and downs along the way which he learnt valuable lessons from, most people would have stopped and changed career but Chris moved on with success. The story of Chris's career is a gold mine of information, and he really informs you of where these mistakes can be made and how to avoid or prepare for them. I have to say that every time I hear Chris lecture there is always a new fascinating story from his life and as Chris remembers that story another one will pop in!
This really was a fantastic lecture with rare video footage and photos to bring the stories to life and after a short break Chris was back with a valuable question and answer session along with a couple of his favourite routines. During the interval I had a chance to chat with Chris's lovely wife, and assistant, Belinda. I think Belinda should definitely get a lecture together of her own as her stories were just as fascinating and from that different perspective of being in the boxes.
Being in show business is a difficult career and many performers, even those that make the big time, only have a short shelf life. Chris has proven that with a little creativity, changing things up and a bit of drive you can have a life long career and that’s why Chris has survived half a century in magic. Don’t think that that is the end of the story, no way! Chris continues to change and evolve and this year he has a new stage show hitting the theatres “A Cavalcade of Wonders”. Review by Steve Majes.
What a fantastic night, Danny and Steph presented a fun and very informative lecture on Houdini and the art of escapology. You could feel the passion and electric in Danny’s voice as he regaled stories along with his detailed research about the most famous magician and escape artist the world has ever known. The stories were reinforced with escape demonstrations from Danny and details on how many handcuffs and locks, old and new, worked and how with dedication and practice could be opened for escape. The great thing is that Danny has, and continues, to perform many of Houdini’s escapes as well as creating original escapes for his stage and theatre shows, with this dedication his life has followed very similar paths opening up a real affinity with this icon of magic. We look forward to their next visit! Steve Majes
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