Paul McLeavy and his team from Bristol Society of Magic pulled another fun filled day out of the proverbial hat. The venue, Nailsea School, has useful auditoria but is somewhat off the beaten track if you were travelling without a car. However it was worth the journey to enjoy some first class magic.

Thom Peterson

The opening lecture came from transplanted American, Thom Peterson, who is a truly excellent teacher. He puts a lot of thought into his demonstrations and visual aids, using huge amounts of humour within his presentations and explanations.

I particularly liked ‘Walkaround Williamson’, an adaptation of a David Williamson classic Torn and Restored Transposition. However everything Thom did was worth considering and included a coin to jumbo coin, Wise Quack which was Al Koran’s Medallion utilising a plastic bath duck, and origami trick and an ESP trick with a simple plot – using cards beautifully and skilfully designed by Thom’s talented wife Annabel de Vetten.

John Carey

John Carey’s lecture was a complete contrast although he imparts knowledge that is sound and quenches the thirst of the dedicated coin and card magician. His lecture opened with a coin routine called ‘In-purse-ination’ and he followed on with three tricks ‘Whispering Ambitions’, his take on the Ambitious Card; a four Ace production which makes the spectator into the star and My Cards are Your Cards, a classical version of Dr Daly’s Last Trick. He also included a packet trick, Homage to Fechter; the discovery of a thought-of CD; and B’Lieve – an ungaffed version of Max Maven’s B’Wave.

Anson Lee

After lunch, and a visit to the dealers, we were treated to a lecture by the headliner of the convention, Anson Lee, who displayed his rope routine, using his necktie. He gave a great logical explanation for using it in this way, before restoring it and wearing it at the end of the routine.

He continued by demonstrating his manipulations of jumbo multi-coloured playing cards. He taught some subtleties on appearing and disappearing candles and demonstrated a smoother way of producing a snowstorm from a single card.

He showed how the length of a normal card was the same as the width of a jumbo card so the larger ones could be hidden when palmed lengthways. Then, asking people to get out their cards, he finished with a workshop style teach-in on manipulation.

Keiron Johnson

While the first group of registrants viewed the Close Up Show, the juniors in attendance were delighted to have their own workshop featuring Keiron Johnson. Despite pleas for regurgitation, Keiron avoided his signature geeky style and, instead, taught about creativity and displayed a trick where he ate the contents of a sugar packet – which then could be poured out of the tip of a Sharpie pen! He also showed how the lid could replace itself. This charmed the small group of youngsters so Keiron was delighted to explain he was going to help them all make the gimmicked Sharpie needed for the trick. This was very popular indeed!

Close Up Show

For the Close Up Show Rob James opened with a repeat birdcage vanish and continued by showing a spectator how two knotted silks could melt apart despite close scrutiny. He then invited a child to the stage where Rob whispered the script for the young one to repeat as he performed the Cups and Balls (with a lot of help!)

Local lad, Callum Weaver, romped through a rope routine, Torn and Restored Card and Cups and Balls too!

John Carey was back, this time to perform. He started by producing his deck of cards from bare hands, then baffled us with an excellent Oil and Water routine plus other amazing card effects!

Fish and chips with peas or baked beans had been available to order for an early supper. Then we gathered back in the auditorium for the gala show.

Gala Show

The compere, Ben Nickless gave us impressions of various singers and characters throughout the evening, from Marge Simpson and Mrs Brown to Gary Barlow.

The first act of the show was the wonderful Bertie Pearce who used his unique character to regale us with his Torn and Restored paper, Thumb Tie, an amazing convoluted rope tie which involved three people and a jug, a toilet seat, mugs and a lawn mower! I have always enjoyed his version of Six Card Repeat, combined with Chapeaugraphy and performed in  several languages; while his red silk in egg routine also enchanted the audience who, I’m sure, had seen this trick many times in the past. There is only one Bertie Pearce – we just don’t see enough of him!

Jon Udry was  handsome and funny as he started by making a balloon dog behind his back while bouncing a ball on his head. This led to juggling whilst removing his jacket and then using two balls and two rings so that the balls went through the rings. He continued with six rings, then two balls and his live microphone, talking into it each time it rose in the air to his mouth, a trick he prefers to do with the theatre’s equipment! The highlight for me was his juggling of a mug and a teabag which  often landed in the cup before flying out again. He ended with club juggling.

The first half ended on another comedy act – Thom Peterson gave an excellent presentation of spoon bending, then demonstrated by drawing a spoon on a large pad with hilarious results. He did an impression of a unicorn using a mouth coil and then invited a spectator to take part in a Do as I Do routine using large paper cups of water which were inverted over both their heads. He ended on a colour prediction using a Twister mat and a lot of strong comedy.

After the interval surprise guest, Jimmy Tamley, gave us his excellent act, using both his Grandad and baby puppets – as well as two enthusiastic members of the audience for a human ventriloquism sequence.

Star of the convention, Anson Lee from Taiwan, performed his fantastic manipulation act where from an empty stage he was able to produce and vanish cards of many colours, as well as using his bow tie as a silk on two occasions in order to produce a candle and a small ball. He transformed the ball into a card and back until the ball finally became a silk once more. His finale involved many normal and jumbo sized playing cards appearing and vanishing in time to his carefully chosen music showing how a true FISM winner performs

Andrew Green opened his act with fire from a torch and from his palms. He then worked with canes and silks in multiples of colours before his assistant joined him for a Head Mover illusion. He followed this with Martin Lewis’s Cardiographic where a drawing of a deck of cards comes to life. Then we saw a large glass casket used for a Metamorphosis transposition of Andrew and his assistant. A medley of a coke bottle vanish in a tube and silks transformed to a small ball were followed by sponge balls from mouth, D’Lites and red mouth coil. A newspaper had a segment torn out and restored before a silk was found within its empty folds, then a candle appeared from the silk before vanishing and the whole sequence ended with an appearing rose.

Finally the girl entered a box, had tubes pushed thorugh and the whole contraption was opened to show the girl had vanished.

This had been a low key convention with some great sparks of fun, comedy and amazing magic.

Try and get there yourself next year – you won’t regret it! –

Mandy Davis

Gordon Drayson

Professional Magician, working in the South London area. Close up magic, double act cabaret as well as UK Childrens Entertainer of the Year 2016/2017. Founding member of Magic Daily.

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