Number 1173 - Saturday 17th December 2022


The Art of Illusion, Hampstead Theatre, London 19th December - 28th January. The Art of Illusion by Alexis Michalik. In 1984, as the France vs Yugoslavia match unfolds on TV, a man meets a woman in a Parisian café. He is returning a bag that she lost in the metro, but he doesn’t tell her he stole it... Instead, he tells her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, inventor, and master magician of the 19th century. Together they set out to find a vanished theatre beneath a bank vault in the Boulevard des Italiens, to break into a museum in the Trocadero, to uncover the mystery of the Mechanical Turk, to witness the birth of the kinetograph... and to delve ever deeper into the Art of Illusion.


Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3EU, 19th December - 28th January. Written by Alexis Michalik and translated by Waleed Akhtar. Directed by Tom Jackson Greaves. Illusion Consultant: Ben Hart. "Magician Ben Hart talks about his work on The Art of Illusion" YouTube. 17.12.22


Britain's Got Talent: The Ultimate Magician - tomorrow evening on ITV1. "Magicians from around the world battle it out!" YouTube. From the programme makers: Britain’s Got Talent: The Ultimate Magician showcases the very best magicians from Got Talent shows globally, as we see Britain’s Got Talent favourites competing against the very best magic acts from around the world. Stephen Mulhern will host this special edition of Britain’s Got Talent with Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams returning to the famous judging desk. For this one-off special edition, they will be joined by Las Vegas legend Penn Jillette – of Penn & Teller fame. Ten magical acts will perform, and the winner will be chosen by the theatre audience – but who will be crowned the Ultimate Magician and take away the £50,000 prize? Magical Bones, Richard Jones, The Witch, Marc Spelmann, The Clairvoyants, Tony, Kevin James, Eric Chien, Mandy Muden and Colin Cloud compete. 8pm on Sunday 18th December - see TV Magic. "Britain’s Got Talent The Ultimate Magician cast: Who is in the line-up of the BGT spin-off?" 17.12.22


Derren Brown: Showman "A performance that will blow your mind" ★★★★★. Apollo theatre, London. "The veteran illusionist outdoes himself with an evening of bewildering trickery that holds a mirror to our deepest feelings... With Brown and his co-creators Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor, we really are in the presence of masters." Read the full review by Brian Logan in

"Derren Brown: Showman review — Britain’s favourite magician conjures another hit" [subscription]
"Derren Brown is still the greatest showman, but his emotional honesty is even more spellbinding"  [subscription] ★★★★★

"Review: Derren Brown - Showman, Apollo Theatre"

To March 19th 2023. Tickets: 17.12.22


The Young Magician of the Year Competition Johnny Hart Award. Entry is now open for The Magic Circle's Young Magician of the Year Competition 2023. We are delighted to announce an additional award, the Johnny Hart Award for Manipulation, in memory of the first winner of the Young Magician of the Year Competition in 1961. This award will only be made if the judges consider that there is a manipulative act of sufficient standard. Details of the Competition with Rules and Entry Form can be found at or by contacting the Chairman at 17.12.22


MagicFest Opens this Weekend! Holidays are coming! And we can’t wait to get the magic started here in Edinburgh at MagicFest. This weekend we open with Magic School, our magical, festive workshops for children before Kevin Quantum’s Christmas Special (with guests) opens next week on the 21st. There are a whole bunch of shows and events targeting children and families: 17.12.22


Merlins Magic Festival, May 2023. Merlins of Wakefield have announced the date for their next Magic Festival Day: Sunday 14th May 2023, at The Academy Theatre, Birdwell, Barnsley S70 5TU. The artists will be announced shortly, but tickets are now available: Click Here. By booking now, you will get the best seats for the evening show, and once again, everyone who books for the full day will get a 'Merlins Goody Bag' which will contain items to at least the value of the ticket price. Effectively, you are getting a great day and evening of magic for nothing!

Here are some comments from previous years:

"This was the first Magic Day I have been to and was amazed from start to finish"

"Good variety of magic and Dealers, loved the sideshow."

"A great value day, everyone was really friendly, will definitely be going again."
"Lovely venue and easy to get to from the motorway."
"Well organised and easy to follow the events in the program."
Don't miss out, book your tickets today!


Chris Dugdale: Ethermind - The Old Court, Windsor, Thursday 22nd December. From the promoter: The only act to win the Edfest Bouquet 4 times! A unique blend of magic and mind control unleashed to influence your mind! The results are indisputable and highly entertaining! Random thoughts coalesce to create an incredible journey! Chris Dugdale is a world-renowned magician and mind-control expert, having performed for The Queen of England and for numerous dignitaries and celebrities across the globe. Chris has been featured on the BBC, NBC, the CW, Sky, and ITV. As seen on Penn and Teller: Fool Us! Thursday 22nd December at 8pm. For one night only, with a couple of very special things for Christmas! Age recommendation 8+ Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes. For more info and to book visit


"BBC Radio Interview: Katie Tyler interviews Chris Dugdale. 12 minute interview about entertaining our late Queen, The Pentagon, Edinburgh Festival, Ethermind and lots more..." YouTube. 17.12.22


Russ Stevens on Craig Petty's Magic TV: 'Talk Magic'. Every week Craig Petty sits down and chats with a well known magician; a creator, a performer, or someone who has had a positive impact on the Magic Community. This week: "Russ Stevens talks RSVP Online" YouTube. 17.12.22


The MagicWeek Video Archive. A new magic clip or show every week! This week The Paul Daniels Magic Christmas Show 1986 with Harry Blackstone Jr, Ronn Lucas, Antonio Diavolo presented by John Gaughan and Debbie McGee. From 27th December 1986. See The MagicWeek Video Archive. To see more from The MagicWeek Video Archive Click Here. 17.12.22


Coffee Swindle. Discount Magic write: A great new effect that takes the Jastrow Boomerang illusion to something which can be validly performed in a modern age. The magician shows two coffee cup sleeves from their local deli, one for a Venti and the other for a Grande. To the spectator, the Venti is clearly smaller than the Grande (as it should be?) but as the magician shows, this is just marketing. In fact, the Venti and Grande can be the same size or in some cases, the Venti is larger than the Grande; simply by turning the sleeve over! For more info and to order visit 17.12.22


The December/January Mark Leveridge Podcast. With the festive holiday period coming up, it could be a good time to catch up with the new audio podcast from Mark Leveridge. Here are the topics covered in the latest 45 minute edition. Retiring from Magicseen but not MLM. FISM competition acts are uniquely designed for their end purpose of winning. A lecture invitation that comes from an extremely unlikely place. Are we using a narrower range of objects in the magic that we present? Defining the different types of spectator we encounter when performing. Magic in the theatre. Strolling magicians need to be aware of their performance surroundings. Coping with the rigours of December bookings. You can get free access either from, or from where you can also sign up to be a follower and receive each new release automatically. 17.12.22


Wayne Dobson Magic Kit. Wayne has put together some of his favourite tricks to bring you the ultimate Wayne Dobson Magic Kit: Non-Sense, Houdini’s Card Trick, Houdini 1926, T.L.C., and the limited Dobbo’s Dollar. Over £100 of magic for only £25.00 + p&p. Head over to to order yours now. 17.12.22


Trilogy Extreme By Brian Caswell and Peter Nardi. From Alakazam Magic: 3 Times The Effect - 100 Times The Impact! This has got to be one of the finest card and number routines ever created. In fact I would go as far as to say it’s the best! When Trilogy was released it blew the minds of everyone that witnessed it and because of its success many similar effects hit the market but these were just pretenders to the Trilogy throne! Watch a demo and find out more at 17.12.22


Tommy Cooper's Christmas. A seasonal special from 1973, featuring a generous helping of mirth, mayhem and magic from the comedian, who demonstrates how to cook a duck-egg omelette, plays snooker with a sand wedge and rides an ostrich. Joining Tommy are singers Clodagh Rodgers and Sacha Distel, who perform a medley of festive favourites. 25th and 25th December - see TV Magic for details. 17.12.22


Storyville - A Bunch of Amateurs. David Britland writes: There's a documentary on BBC iPlayer called A Bunch of Amateurs. It's about a film club in Bradford. One of the lead characters is Harry Nicholls that some may remember as a popular figure at magic conventions in the 70s and a friend of Ken Brooke. He often presented films of magicians at conventions as he was an amateur film enthusiast.


Storyville - A Bunch of Amateurs: "A bunch of amateur film-makers, with nothing left to lose, tackle one of Hollywood's greatest musicals in order to save their beloved Bradford Film Club. As its members grow old amid flickering memories and hardships, a handful of diehard members desperately cling to their dreams, and to each other, in this warm and funny look at shared artistic folly that speaks to the delusional dreamer in us all." 17.12.22


Pat Conway "The King of Matchbox Magic". Chris Cross writes: Not sure if the magic world knew that Pat Conway "The King of Matchbox Magic" sadly died earlier this year at the age of 99. I picked up his estate and the rights to his life’s work from his grandson in Barnet, London, yesterday [Thursday 8th December]. The Enchanted Rabbit now own all rights to the Pat Conway creations. His grandson told me he was performing magic right up until the last minute - showing nurses disappearing pens and suchlike! "The death has occurred of Patrick (Paddy) Conway" 17.12.22


"Penn 'didn't feel right' appearing on Britain's Got Talent without magic partner Teller" Click Here • "Watch a magician bring thing to life in Tim Burton's 'Wednesday' series" Click Here • "‘Speakeasy Magick’ is transportive entertainment" Click Here • "Derren Brown is selling his beloved stuffed two-headed calf as his vast taxidermy collection goes up for auction" Click Here • That's all for this week, see you next week (Christmas Eve!), Duncan. 17.12.22