Reviews, etc

Jake Banfield’s Sprezzatura Show

Posted by on Oct 24, 2015 in Reviews | 0 comments

Jake Banfield’s magic show at The Charlotte Street Hotel in central London is a very enjoyable – and civilised – way to spend a Saturday evening. At the performance I attended, there was a couple in the audience on one of their first dates and it struck me what a perfect choice they’d made in coming to Sprezzatura: excellent entertainment in luxurious surroundings and the bond of having experienced wonder together. The word sprezzatura is originally Italian, invented by author Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier. The...

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Jamie Allan: iMagician

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Reviews | 0 comments

Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. The same modest message is conveyed by Jamie Allan in his magic show, which is framed almost as a presentation about the Evolution of Magic. Building on all that is noble and life-enhancing from the past couple of centuries of magical tradition, Jamie is creating up-to-the-minute magic, based on the sound principles established by Robert-Houdin, Devant, Houdini and the other giants of yesteryear. In keeping with David Devant’s motto All Done By...

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Luke Jermay: Sixth Sense

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Reviews | 0 comments

Luke Jermay is a master of his art. Apart from having one of the most ingenious minds in mentalism, he has created a persona so shot through with incongruities as to throw any audience off balance and leave them susceptible to belief in the paranormal. The disorientating contradiction between his semi-Victorian style of dress and his abundant tattoos, between his declamatory style of speech and his Essex accent, induces a level of  cognitive dissonance before anything even happens. While Luke never explicitly states he’s psychic or...

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Want You Dead

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Peter James is renowned as the creator of Roy Grace, a Sussex detective with a substantial fan-base amongst readers all around the world, and this book sees the Superintendent pitting his wits against a master of magic. As part of his research, the author consulted local magician Matt Wainwright and I was intrigued to read the result. Want You Dead is the tenth book in the Roy Grace series and I have to admit I hadn’t heard of any of it until this novel was mentioned in the magic media. Before plunging into the tenth one, I decided to read...

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Derren Brown: Infamous

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Yet again, Derren Brown is packing huge theatres up and down the land. Playing to sell-out crowds 8 nights in a row in the same place is an impressive feat for what is essentially a magic show: Derren’s compelling combination of showmanship and apparently supernatural abilities seems to resonate with all sorts of people who would not necessarily consider themselves interested in magic. This is a lean, pared-down production, with none of the sinister chill that occasionally blew through the big props and flamboyance of previous shows....

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Ben Hart: The Outsider

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

As a magic designer and consultant as well as a magician, Ben Hart works as much behind the scenes as he does in front of an audience. This is someone who thinks deeply about magic and how giving it a frame and a context can magnify its impact and enhance its entertainment value. He also sets great store by originality and the show is refreshingly free of corn and the well worn lines so many magicians insist on using, even though they really weren’t funny the first time. As a concept, The Outsider is admittedly not a totally original one...

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Paul Daniels, From Legend to Leg End

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

Paul Daniels has been a household name for as long as many of us can remember but, unlike most people in this position, he is not one for resting on his laurels. Far from just going through the motions, he is constantly updating, refining and inventing routines – and clearly still enjoys doing so. In his fourth decade of national and international stardom, his enthusiasm and respect for magic are both admirable and inspiring: this is no nostalgia tour but a state-of-the-art magic show, appreciated as much by the teenagers in the audience as...

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High Jinx Magic & Illusion Show

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Reviews | 2 comments

Michael Jordan is a rising star in the magic firmament and definitely one to watch. He is a gifted magician with an additional repertoire of circus skills that he integrates into his routines, he is a likeable performer as well as a very professional one and he knows how to put together a show that will be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Despite having won several prestigious prizes and toured the world with his own show, Michael remains a down-to-earth Huddersfield boy. His partner, the excellent Tamsyn Sear, is equally...

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Now You See Me

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

This, the second film about stage illusionists to come out in 2013, is much easier and more enjoyable to watch than The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – although, from a magician’s point of view, not as important. As I said in my review of it (see Films about Magicians), Burt Wonderstone provides a useful commentary on the state of the magical art and makes points I was glad to see made in the public arena. The same cannot be said of Now You See Me, though during this heist caper I was able to relax in a way I couldn’t in front...

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Morgan and West

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Reviews | 0 comments

Time-travelling magicians Morgan and West are fast becoming stalwarts of the contemporary magic scene. As two nineteenth-century gentlemen, they purvey elegant entertainment – engagingly executed effects, laced with gentle, character-based humour. Free of insult, innuendo and every other cheap device, this act is of the David Devant school, in which it is “all done by kindness”. Rhys Morgan and Robert West met and started performing together whilst at Oxford University in the late noughties. Since then, they have clearly...

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