Numbers are dwindling for the early morning start of the FISM close-up. Let’s dive straight in:
1. Niki Sedlak – Cards – Tricky Niki – Austria
Combining a ventriloquist voice with the magic – Niki featured a repeated signed card under box, signed card in envelope and very visual bill to card. Not too bad for a Wednesday morning.
2. Michael Neto – Micro – England
A crazed scientist who required the use of two test subjects: “Oh, look – we have humans today.” Coins thru table ... everything is better with Ellusionist smoke ... and a bunsen burner. The theme slowly degenerated as the act went on becoming a tad too juvenile for my liking.
3. Jan Logemann – Cards – Germany
A mini-boom box acted as a reoccurring feature with sound effects throughout the act. With a goldfish ‘card shark’ – some very visual card work – a massive pyro – and the signed selection ending in a solid block of glass – we have our first standing ovation of the day.
4. Woody Aragon – Cards – Spain
A member of the newly formed “Bring your own video camera to Blackpool” society – Woody featured a four card routine with letters & words –and spell a card trick ... why we should be invested in such a premise – no idea – but the audience loved it nonetheless – and up they got to stretch their legs and provide a second standing ovation.
5. Yu Cheung – Parlor – Frank Ong – Hong Kong
An act that brought back memories of Boris Wild’s Kiss performance – but instead we have cards with pictures of roses. Card to confetti to rose ... with hearts that appear and vanish. No emotion and an attempt at being dramatic that unfortunately failed to hit its mark.
6. Patrick Lehnen – Cards – Germany
An entertaining set, reminiscent of Pit Hartling’s Heinz character, of a remote control salesman hawking his latest ‘deck’ invention. Fun and pleasing.
7. Alberto Del Negro – Parlor – Trabuk – Italy
A bubbling street busker with oodles of energy performing a chop cup style of routine in Italian. Clearly a pro when it comes to working the streets as he had the audience completely engrossed in his antics.
8. Shih-Huang Tsai – Micro – Red Tsai – Taiwan
Matrix with dice stacking, cups & balls with shot glass and dice, visual transposition of liquid in shot glasses – all elegantly executed with plenty of skill. A magician pleaser and recipient of yet another standing ovation.
9. Liang-Shun – Cards – Shin Lim – Canada
Shin Lim is a relatively young performer new to the FISM scene. With a curtain of hair covering his eyes, his performance is over the top dramatic – both in presentation and delivery. Stories of dreams and nightmares with intense music to boot is all a little too much at times in our little word of card magic. Featured sections include “everything is better with Ellusionist Smoke” ... and a vanishing card in cellophane bag that provided plenty of eye candy for the assembled conjurors. While his mouth to card flopped ( turning your back and inserting card into mouth is not too magical when the microphone picks up the entire sequence ) – magicians are a forgiving bunch and were so taken aback with the cellophane card changes they, too, jumped to their feet at the end of the act.
10. Olivier Macia – Cards – Olmac – France
Four aces ( oh joy ), Ambitious card, visual changes with some serious angle restrictions and a novel effect which saw his jacket pockets disappear right off the suit.
11. Andreas Axmann – Parlor – Der Hauptstadtzaubere – Germany
Set in an amusement parkr, a borrowed cellphone ends in a sealed can along with a vanishing and reappearing neck-tie and shirt. A fun interlude ...
12. Pattrick Przysiecki – Micro – USA
I’ve seen this act before ... and unfortunately little has improved at ‘Patrick’s Travel Agency’. This travel-themed act is overly scripted, lacks finesse and one of those poor attempts at putting together an act that someone thought would work at the ‘magic contest.’ The vanishing globe as the finale was ridiculous – lift up the close-mat, promptly dump the globe behind the table – and whisk said mat away convincing yourself that no one knows how your ‘trick’ is done. Oh my.
12. Zhang Guozhou – Micro – Jo-Jo- China
Tea time with silk to saucer, appearing spoons, cups & balls with sugar cubes, chop cup with biscuit and glass and a complete tea & cake production as the finale. Smooth as anything and a chance to sit back and enjoy a well polished performance.
13. Alexander Merk – Parlor – Germany
Focusing on the concept of turning back time, a youngster is forced to say goodbye to his childhood teddy bear. He goes about destroying the bear – only to endure a similar fate himself ... pulling cotton wool from his own torso ... ending with the bringing back to life of the bear. An act with great potential and creative premise but sadly not quite there yet in its execution. Alexander was an engaging storyteller and can only but hope he continues to develop and refine this
14. Jose Dominguez – Micro – Jaque – Spain
With the sound of chanting monks filtering from the speakers – expectations are of the Spikes of Doom or some grand death defying feat before me. Instead we get the coin matrix. Expectation mismatch ? Just maybe. Coins to poker chips to ice cubes with screaming cheers from related family and friends in the audience.
15. Matthew Wright – Marvellous Matthew Wright – England
Matt Lucas’ lost brother – somebody is drinking his own Kool Aid in this highly camp performance of cards and coins ... bizarre.
16. Jerome Bourgeon – Micro – Candide – France
Clutching his ‘magic set’ – out comes the cups & balls with mini magic instruction book. 3 cups change to 4 ... the mini book replaces the ball and we have a jumbo book at the end.
Another day of close-up draws to end ... with just 17 performances remaining tomorrow before we finish with the FISM 2012 Close-up Championships.
The quality of the acts is definitely on the up, Ellusionist’s Smoke is now the new snowstorm and if you are doing a close-up act – don’t think of arriving without your overly dramatic soundtrack.