39th Annual International Magic Convention review at The Mermaid Conference and Events Centre London
There was magic in the air at Blackfriars as coins appeared from nowhere and then disappeared in the blink of an eye and cards were manipulated in the most amazing way. It was magic of the close-up kind which dominated, performed by some of the world’s leading exponents, such as Canada’s David Benn – making his first European appearance and showing some incredible gambling sleights, Ponta the Smith from Japan with some fantastic coin work and Tyler Wilson having a chosen signed card appear on the ceiling of the theatre and then retrieving it by climbing the vertical ladder at the side of the stage.
Also in close-up there was the competition, with a first prize of £1,000, which was won by Matthew Wright, a former street entertainer and now one of the best magicians in the country. He made coins move from hand to hand, made a signed chosen card appear inside his wallet and performed a wonderful cameo using the four aces, mimed to a popular piece of music. It made for an excellent experience. Coming second was Kim Min Hyung from Korea who produced a bottle of drink, changed the colour of the liquid and then as he manipulated cards the bottle cap continually appeared and disappeared. Third was 16 year old Alexander Hansford, who also used cards which he cut, shuffled and assembled in various ways, but all with a mathematical slant.
There was also some impressive stage magic to be seen in two shows. There was that of the Flicking Fingers – a group of ten talented magicians from Germany who, with comedy and great magic performed the instant dress change, the walk through the wall of death and a strange routine with a piece of rope. Performing both as individuals and as a whole cast it was entertainment at its very best.
Then there was the Gala show – emceed by that fine comedy magician Noel Britten, who had some great gags between the acts. There was Paul Dabek who, in a fast paced and colourful act, produced canes from nowhere then changed them into coloured feather plumes, manipulated cards and produced silk handkerchiefs culminating with a large coloured banner. In a second spot he performed some beautiful hand shadows using the theme of an African safari. Kim Hyun Joon from Korea was sensational as he produced a multitude of card fans of every size and colour at his fingertips that filled the stage, in-between manipulating coloured balls. It was magic at its most brilliant.
There was colour too from Romany, dressed in black and pink and sparkling like a glass of champagne, who produced numerous birdcages, changed a silk into a rose and linked and unlinked steel rings in a most exciting act. In a break from magic Tom Noddy gave an impressive display of soap bubbles and Johnny Fox swallowed swords, knives, a screwdriver and balloon, and even pierced his tongue.
Nikolai Friedrich correctly predicted a spectator’s birthday and Derek Hughes provided much comedy with a rope routine and a card trick involving a Japanese lady assistant who did not quite understand his instructions about choosing a card. The audience loved them both.
In addition to all this, there was a dealers fair selling the latest tricks and books, numerous lectures and much exchanging of ideas.
An exciting event was the presentation by David Berglas of the award from the Foundation for Promoting the Art of Magic, which this year went to Spain’s favourite magician Juan Tamariz. Based in Madrid, he has been at the forefront of world magic for more than 50 years with his television shows, writings, teachings, charity work and live performances displaying his incredible skills. He received a long standing ovation before holding a 45 minute question and answer session and performing some of his wonderful magic – including the revelation of a card that had been merely thought of by a spectator.
Our thanks go to Martin MacMillan and family for once again bringing a feast of magic to London.
The Mermaid Conference and Events Centre, London, November 26-28