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Wonder Thunder

Episode #1 : Why saw a woman in half? What is the connection between a deck of cards & the calendar. Remote card location.

Episode #2: Espionage, jealousy & murder among magicians. Adam calls his arch nemesis Richard Vegas.

Episode #3:The first aircraft pilot down under was a magician and a live random number challenge via phone.

Episode #4: Bar stunts, Alice Cooper as a magician and magic used in pop concerts.



It’s a freezing Friday evening in London, England ... 5:30 pm and in a scene truly reminiscent of Little Britain’s "Computer says no" episode – the staff of the Mermaid Conference Centre would rather we die of hypothermia than let the crowd of three wait in the heated foyer ... while double-locking the doors to prevent any one us wily people from attempting to breach the defences, Mr Officialdom did come out a 2nd time to please ensure we all queue in a very orderly fashion to the left of the door versus the tiny bit of shelter we did manage to extract to the right of his great divide – as he didn’t want this group to become unmanageable ( yes – all of 3 us ) Welcome to Great Britain ;-)
I’ve had a a fantastic week thus far in London – a true theatrical overload ... Arturo Brachetti, Les Miserables Phantom, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys and a Best of Broadway spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall ( a venue truly not to be missed )  After a week of such unbelievable theatre – a weekend of magic is all that is needed to top off a truly magical trip.

••Read the Complete Story with Photos & Video after the Jump!••

The Mermaid Conference Centre is in the heart of London’s financial district – just off Fleet Street  - it's the new home of International Magic’s convention – and from first impressions seems an ideal spot with the auditorium seating an intimate 600.

Registration is short & sweet ( collecting a lanyard is not particularly time consuming ) Unfortunately there is no delegate’s bag, package of goodies or even a notebook ( your intrepid writer had to supply his own pen & paper  ) The program of events though is contained within a great full colour insert that fits within the lanyard profiling the artists and run of events for the weekend.
The convention kicks off at 7:30 pm with a One Man show by Dutch magician – George Parker – in the main auditorium. Strangely, the venue is probably half empty with approx 300 magicians in attendance = hopefully it fills up for the later events.
I’ve always felt that an Opening event sets the tone for a whole convention – and this was a strange one. There was no welcome by anyone, no introduction, zippo – just George Parker and an hour with his magic. For those not familiar  - George Parker is an excellent story teller – someone who truly has passion for his art and believes deeply in the transformational power of magic. 

George’s show is what he best describes as ‘non-linear storytelling’ – an eclectic tale weaving the elements of fire, water, earth etc. with what magicians would probably consider very standard effects – Professors Nightmare, Linking Rings, Three Fly coin routine, Vanishing Coke bottle etc.  If you understand the man – and where his performance originates – you can only but have an enormous amount of respect for what his performance achieves on so many levels ... and particularly why it is so suited to laypeople. Without an introduction, however, George Parker’s show is wasted on magicians and a poor choice to open a convention.  His performance needs concentration – and as time marches on, on a Friday evening – magicians are looking for eye candy instead.  George will be lecturing tomorrow ... and I so wish that his performance tonight was rather scheduled to follow his lecture to help magicians better understand his approach. Chatting with George post show reminded me once again how he truly does ‘live the magic’ – something which I think escaped most people tonight.
Onward we go ... with the VERY dangerous prospect of a ‘Comedy Show’ to follow featuring Otiz Cannelloni ( UK ) Chris Mitchell ( USA ) Geoff Williams ( USA ) and Raymond  & Mr Timpkins Revue ( UK )
Otiz was our unfortunate choice as MC – a B-grade comedian who clearly doesn’t have the ability to use clean  intelligent humour without having to resort to profanity ( yes, he only had to resort to f*ck 9 times which is mild in comparison to some comics ... rest of the time we had to listen to tired old jokes one after the other) Hopefully someone will explain to him that yelling in the microphone to introduce each act is not how the concept of amplified sound works – an earpiercing screech is more than sufficient. With a poor compere, Geoff Williams, didn’t get the warm-up he needed and I felt his act suffered as a result.  Featuring the 6 Card Repeat and Rubik’s Cube amongst others – Geoff provided respite from the return of Otiz ( “i haven’t had sex since the Queen Mother died ... and that’s no coincidence” ) Chris Mitchell followed and added some much needed energy with his ‘psychic game show’ – multiple predictions using a great use of the one-ahead principle – along with a fun card discovery with a rapping reptile ( Khyber Khobra in a rap routine which I assume was inspired by Tim Ellis’s 6 Card Rap ) Finishing off the evening was the one of a kind Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue – an act beyond description. Taking well known lyrics from nearly every major song – they fuse physical comedy with the actual letters & words synched perfectly to the music ... something which you need to see to fully appreciate. The concept is great – but unfortunately they too fall prey at times to the easy way out of smutty toilet humour. Some tight editing – and they would have a truly entertaining variety piece. The ‘Comedy show’ topped out at just over an hour ... and so brings to a close Day One of the International Magic Convention. A lack-lustre start thus far.
The Close-up Contest kicks off tomorrow at 10 am with a small group of just 13 performers ( I do enjoy the fact that there are nearly as many judges as there are performers ;-)  Lectures include George Parker, Rene Lavand and David Minkin .... and the much-anticpated Saturday evening Gala Show.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings. And looking at the clock – I see Saturday is already here ... it's 12:03 am.

View the complete set of Day One photos here:

Get the flash player here:

Watch the Raymond & Mr. Timpkins Revue: