Day 5 – Fri 13th July
Friday 13th at a magic convention – what could possibly go wrong.
Blackpool hosting the final Stage Gala Show and reaching a brand new low for FISM ... that’s a pretty impressive feat.
Let’s give you the full run-down on this mediocre show with some moments of pure horror.
The show starts with the announcement of the winner of the 6500 GBP diamond ... a contest kept pretty much hidden during the “gala banquet” dinner. With a 5 minute speech about just how valuable this particular jewel is along with its very special certificate of valuation ... it is duly presented ... in a brown paper bag. Very classy.
Han Seol Hui from South Korea followed with his well known and high energy CD manipulation act –including a nice little nod of appreciation to Topas & Soma. Great start so far, but not to last.
Unfortunately we are re-joined by the puerile humour of Clive Webb & Danny Adams as comperes. Yes – the same artists from Monday’s show. And Wednesday’s show. Appearing again on Friday’s show. And what do we have in store – a yellow & pink pants Danny Adams lifting up the skirt of a bagpipe player. Why ?
Richard McDougall arrived complete with his goose – but unfortunately he stood no chance with an international audience so reliant on the English language to understand the gags.
Danny Adams as Elvis then introduced the unbelievable quick change artists - Sos & Victoria. A shining light amidst the darkness. But my little moment of joy was soon shattered by the sound of screeching microphone feedback in a ridiculous gag by the tap-dancing Mr Blub. Yes – Mr Blub and his Bubbles from Wednesday’s show is doing double-duty as Mr Blub the Dancer. Who knew ! 15 minutes of my life was torn away with this excruciating attempt at entertainment. If I wanted to watch a purple wearing clown pretending to be Michael Flatley - I would go see Lord of the Dance.
Mr’s Blub’s torture finally gave way to Tony Chapek and his now classical TV act. Whilst still well presented – the live interaction concept has been taken to a whole new level as today’s contest demonstrated – and Tony’s act is dating fast.
Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin was on hand to close the first half with his very funny routine featuring automated vent masks and two very obliging volunteers complete with ballroom dancing.
Twenty minutes of interval later - Rafael presented a new work-in-progress in an interesting set of a hairdresser getting up for work. There are some nice moments of creativity – but as with any developing piece it is still being worked on.
Danny Adams returned with some cheap sexual innuendo and juggling – nothing quite like man-handling a female spectator on the floor.
Our time-trip though wasn’t quite complete without a detour to Italy and Paolo Giua. Wearing tuxedo and tails – you could close your eyes and return to the 1970’s ... a homemade prop stand with a picture of an Oscar statue ( or is that a Merlin ) that looks like its covered in tin foil. Multiplying cigarette boxes, streamers, card fountain and some very in vogue cigarette manipulation.
Our ever-present hosts unfortunately haven’t yet left the building and now arrive as Elvis in a Fat Suit and promptly fall off the stage in Derek Lever’s lap. Karma ?
Mr Blub the Bubble-maker, Dancer and now Juggler returns for an actual piece of performance with on-stage partner, Sabrina. Why not just get them to perform this single act that was actually worth watching ? I shouldn’t ask such questions. Although would like to suggest that Mr Blub doesn’t add stage hand to his list of credits ... as having the performer strike his own two side lamps during the middle of the next performer’s set is just a little tacky.
Tacky ? At Blackpool ?
Taste has no bounds for what was about to follow.
An international audience. 3000 people from around the world. A family audience. FISM 2012.
And out arrives a man in drag - in a fat suit - with drooping breasts - and pubic hair.
There we have the enduring image of FISM 2012 as presented by Blackpool. I hope they were proud ... because I was ashamed to be sitting in that room. More damage was done to FISM in that moment than anything ever before.
With the audience in shock – one final act remained. Greg Frewin as the closing finale. The image of master magician and magic legend ... destroyed in an instant for the audience assembled tonight. Greg’s apparent poor treatment of his borrowed doves resulted in the audience instantly turning on him – voicing their displeasure with loud booing of his performance. Greg Frewin – booed at FISM. Who would have ever imagined. His standard performance of stock illusions followed – Origami, Appearing Bowling Ball ( you could hear the collective sigh of the audience as the pad appeared ) and Fire Spike Illusion ... ending with Shrouded Transition. The performance was dated, the audience was hostile and the whole gala show experience awful.
The performers themselves must have sensed the anger at this unfortunate mess of a show – as no curtain call followed. The lights went up and Clive Webb & Danny Adams tell us “Goodbye and god bless.”
We are all going to need more than forgiveness for what we were forced to witness.