I was recently asked to perform in Bebington as a Merseyside magician for a small house party of ten people. In fact, I was going to be a surprise for the hosts guests (a fact that I wasn’t aware of until I arrived and the host ushered everybody in the lounge to meet “an old schoolfriend…”). Let me just say that, when house party guests are shepherded into a lounge to gather round you, you get some pretty strange looks!
I quite liked that. 🙂
The show I then performed for them was a little different than usual. I’m used to spending small amounts of time with small groups of people at parties before moving onto the next group. Here though, they were stuck with me for an hour.
A crowd of ten people is a very strange performing dynamic: in a front room, it’s not large enough to be a “stage magic” act (typically performed in front of hundreds of people), but it’s also not strictly “close up magic” either, as you still create a performing space that has clear boundaries and viewing positions for the audience.
When I started performing these kinds of shows, I thought I would have a very fixed act, tightly scripted and choreographed to the hilt, but I’ve found that that didn’t work very well for me. Don’t get me wrong, people enjoyed the show and it was plenty of fun, but I felt I was missing out…holding back in some way.
With ten people, there is still the same opportunity of interaction and banter as there is in close up magic. I love getting people involved with my show. I want them to speak up, I want them to make fun…I want them to relax and enjoy it. This is when I’m doing my best work.
So the tightly scripted “perform-it-the-same-way-every-single-time” show had to go. Instead, I wanted to perform a show that is based on the audience. So I started to create the act based on what I believe the audience at the specific event would prefer to see. One that would allow me to perform strong magic, fully interact with every audience member and also learn something fun about them along the way. 🙂
Of course, on the night, it can all change…and it usually does.
The unique interactions are what I really enjoy about performing magic. Unique interactions are what I believe create really memorable moments in a performance: running gags, ad libs and so forth.
Fortunately, all of the parties I’ve performed at have a been a goldmine of running gags and ad libs. No doubt, one day I’ll come across one that isn’t, but to get testimonials like these from the two most recent ones I’ve performed at shows me it’s totally worth it.
“I contacted John at short notice to see if he could perform at my girlfriend’s 30th birthday party. He bent over backwards to make it happen and arrive at a time that was good for us. I could not have been happier with the show, John had the whole room crying with laughter even before the first trick and brought a great energy to the party, everyone was blown away by the magic but it was John’s personality that really made the show. I would 100% recommend John for any party or event, it gave the party that wow factor I was hoping for.”
“We have never acquired the services of a magician / entertainer before, so we were a little unsure on how it would go. I contacted John via email and he was more than helpful in explaining to me the formalities. Unfortunately the date I wished to hire his services, he was fully booked, however, he gave me the details of other magicians which I thought was very kind. However, due to change in circumstances John contacted me soon after explaining that he had a cancellation and was free for that date (Phew…). We had a small party of 10 people around for dinner, I didn’t tell them he was coming as I wanted it as a surprise…… and sure enough….it was a great surprise. Very charismatic and funny – we had not laughed that much in a long time. He made our evening truly magical. We would definitely recommend this guy!! Thanks again John.”