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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » So Happy together... » » Blackpool - Day Two (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

mitchmagi
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We'll work in reverse for today's report starting off with the marathon 4 hour 15 minute ( inluding interval ) Stage Show from which we have just returned.

UK VS REST OF THE WORLD - Billed as a friendly competition - this stage show was effectively a gala show - first half with UK performers and second with international acts. The event took place in the mammoth Winter Gardens Opera House - a tacky performance venue which shows its Blackpool age ... worn seats, peeling paint and broken wood panels. Its a true historic throwback to a once golden era.

Having heard so much about the Blackpool stage shows - what on earth would possess anyone to want to produce a show that lasts 4 hours 15 minutes including interval ? Bizarre and at times painful for any audience.

Compered by Stu Francis ( the British equivalent of Jeff Hobson crossed with Liberace ) the show started with "balloon illusionist" Bob Wooding. A lacklustre way of kicking off what should be a high powered show - the producers lost the plot in including a variety act to open the show which saw one balloon sculpture produced after another from behind an enormous screen. Very peculiar. Hit the audience with a 'wow' act from the start ...

Escapologist Danny Hunt was second up. Danny Hunt has an interesting take in locking himself up in his own restraints ( a bizarre metal straightjacket contraption ) - and then producing the key / lock pick from his mouth ahead of time in full view of the audience. What does an audience make of someone who locks himself up and then escapes after using his own key / lock pick ... maybe I'm missing something - but it appears to be a pointless event. Hunt's version of the Water Torture Cell ( picture performer hanging upside down with just his head submerged in a container of water ) saw him dangling upside down for an embarrisngly long time as someone forgot to turn on the power switch backstage to fill the bucket with water. Maybe a technical rehearsal would take care of these little problems

Mentalist Graham Jolley was a slick & charming performer whose quick wit had the audience in stitches.

Brian Sefton presented a traditional act of cards, canes, thimbles and zombie. While technically proficient - how do you possibly put on an appearing cane & zombie in front of 3000 magicians ?

Comedian Jon Archer was the undeniable hit whose act featured an unwitting elderly gentleman - "Eric" - who was totally oblivious to anyone or anything happening on stage. You could not have planned for such a comic event if you tried.

Closing the first half was 'illusionist' Martyn James. Once again magicians most often delude themselves in believing that their box illusions are at all deceptive. Presenting a "wringer" illusion with a base of 30+ cm with a luminous yellow strip outline and expecting an audience to believe that the assistant has indeed vanished is a leap into the incredulous ...

The international acts filled the second half of this marathon show.

Fukai presented an eclectic mix of strange magic with lost humour - while Rafael brought some much needed magic to the show with his fantastic disecting couch illusion in the role of Count Dracula.

Shawn Farquhar suffered the embarrasment of being referred to as "David Farquhar" by the MC. Despite this, his "Shape of my Heart" performance earned him a rapturous applause.

Roxanne followed, along with Topas who presented a unique performance mixing motion with sound effects. The legendary Shimada rounded off the marathon evening with his now famous dove act.

-------

CHILDRENS ENTERTAINER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: The morning started with the "Childrens Entertainer World Championships" Highlights included Dave Allen and Andy Clockwise. They placed 2nd and 3rd place consecutively - although deserved 1st & 2nd place -- losing out to John Kimmons who presented more ventriloquism than magic. David Ginn proved to be a terrible embarassment with not only his card effect going horribly wrong but his selection of material showing some strange understanding as to what kids of today find revelant. How can you produce the Georgia state flag & expect it to have ANY revelance whatsoever to a group of children ? ( ignoring of course your audience is made up of Brits )


INTERNATIONAl CLOSE-UP: The sheer variety of close-up artists at Blackpool is amazing. Shawn Farquhar killed with his jawdropping cups & balls act while David Stone had the audience in hysterics with his FISM winning act. The majority of the close-up acts took place in a Horse-shoe shaped venue which saw 8 'mini venues' created separated by partitions. The performers moved from one table to the next with the audience remaining static. While being able to see the performers in a smaller environment was great, the close-up was more akin to a treadmill fitness circuit -- with everything very rushed ... the performers were forced to compete amongst themselves having to try to drown out the applause from the performer appearing right next door behind the mini-partition.

Besides all the above were lectures by David Solomon, JJ Sanvert, JC Wagner, Dave Allen, Lior Manor & Geoffrey Durham.

Tomorrow sees more close-up - further lectures --and wait for it a wonderful session especially for the women in magic - "Ladies Event: A practical demonstration on arranging flowers plus an illustrated talk on plants and flowers which work together" Direct quote from the programme.

Is this 2008 or is flower arranging mutually exclusive to women ?
Spellbinder
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Quote:
On 2008-02-23 19:40, mitchmagi wrote:
CHILDRENS ENTERTAINER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: The morning started with the "Childrens Entertainer World Championships" Highlights included Dave Allen and Andy Clockwise. They placed 2nd and 3rd place consecutively - although deserved 1st & 2nd place -- losing out to John Kimmons who presented more ventriloquism than magic.


Some of us seem to have forgotten our magical historical past, when Ventriloquism was considered as important a skill to be learned by magicians as sleight of hand with cards and coins (for example). The Magic Café even has its own well populated and very active Ventriloquism section. Also, note that the award is NOT called "Children's Magician World Championships" but "Children's Entertainer World Championships". Perhaps John Kimmons (our own Kimmo on this forum) won because the others thought they were in a magic contest and not an entertainment contest. In any case, congratulations, John! Perhaps this will serve to inspire others to include Ventriloquism in their acts when entertaining children!
Professor Spellbinder

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Top Hat
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Great review. I can't begin to tell you how glad I am not to have wasted my money and time on this shambles of an event. I look forward to the report on day 3!
TH Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
Nick Wait
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So having a good time? Smile
mitchmagi
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"Perhaps John Kimmons (our own Kimmo on this forum) won because the others thought they were in a magic contest and not an entertainment contest. In any case, congratulations, John! Perhaps this will serve to inspire others to include Ventriloquism in their acts when entertaining children!"

You forget that my preferred choice - Magic Dave - also included vent in his act ! In fact - nearly ALL the entertainers included vent in their act. Magic Dave also happened to include some well thought out magic routines as well ;-)
Caliban
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From audience response John Kimmons was the very clear winner of the Children's entertanment championships - he went down by far the best in the theatre and I would have been very surprsied if he hadn't won. He also won the Ken Dodd comedy award, presented on the final gala. Magic Dave was very good and deserved second place. All in all, I think they got the right result.
Alexander Wells
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You are right about the environment in which the International close-up was performed. It was more suitable for parlour magic than close-up. However, certain performers (Stone, Ogawa and Close) were able to work with the conditions and still be seen and heard.
We often talk about having to work in noisy, crowded conditions I when we do close-up and it's down to the performer to pre-empt these problems and work around them. Some people did this some didn't. The ones who did shine out as the higher quality performers.

You could argue that when it is a magic convention, the conditions should be ideally suited to whatever material the performer wish to perform. I think that's a fair point.
All I can say is that I really enjoyed it and I think that it was down to the talent and craft of some superb magicians.
Al Angello
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Mitch
Kimmo won because he was the best childrens entertainer in England that night. The magic Café is no place to be bashing Kimmo because he has hundreds if not thousands of friends here.

Kimmo was not there when they announced the winners of the competition because he was able to fit a booking in between his two awards.
What a guy
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mitchmagi
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"Kimmo won because he was the best childrens entertainer in England that night. The magic Café is no place to be bashing Kimmo because he has hundreds if not thousands of friends here. "

I didn't bash him - just voiced my preference for Magic Dave. Re-read the post. I merely indicated his inclusion of more vent than magic.
Al Angello
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Mitch
Pardon my over reaction. I am both a friend of Kimmo's and a rope magic lover. You are new here at the magic Café and I would like to welcome you.
Al
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Sean B
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I too was at Blackpool, guess my enthusiasm and admiration for the entire weekend comes from attending it for over 20 years now. It is still for me the best Magical weekend in the year, congrats to all involved.

As for Kimmo, apart from being a nice guy and a terrific Magician, he is also a terrific vent act and was a worthy winner of Childrens World Entertainer for he surely is an amazing enyertainer as could be seen on the day and was very much appreciated by the audience. Congrats Kimmo on both your awards, truly deserved!

Congrats also to Magic Dave, I was delighted for him, a great guy and a great act, and deserved his runner up award.
kimmo
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Thanks Sean and Caliban! I only just found this thread!

The truth is, I ran out of time before I could do my last effect - my linking ring routine, which is why my act was a little light on magic that day. I have never worked in a big theatre before and it never occurred to me that the laughs would take a lot longer to die down after each gag. The audience response turned what is normally a 5 minute routine into a 10 minute one! Serves me right for trying to be funny!!

Thanks to Al and Spellbinder for leaping to my defence!

I have no problem to those who thought Dave and Andy should win. If it was judged on magical content rather than audience response and entertainment value, I wouldn't even have been placed!!
Dave and Andy are both great guys and I love their acts.
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