20th International Magic Close-up Competition
6th December 2003
Reported by Kevin Gallagher

Three Commendation Awards

Carlos Vaquera / Jean-Pierre Vallerino
Carlos featured in the competitors list but when he performed, close friend Jean-Pierre stood close-by with a number of amusing interventions where he made life more 'challenging' for Carlos by, for example, tapping the Aces into the pack before a multiple shift could be performed. Needless to say, Carlos always triumphed with some beautiful card and coin work with a modicum of mime thrown in for good measure.

Michael Vincent
Immaculate card work including the definitive Dr Daley sequence which has become one of his trademarks. It is difficult to imagine how a pure card routine could be better executed.

Tony Price
A very theatrical act which revolved around a presentation of 'Esoteric Deck ' where the deck self cut itself three times to produce three selected cards. This was then repeated under a glass dome.

Third Place + 100
Ferenc Galambos

Ferenc performed on his own stand to music. It was a street entertainer style act featuring the likes of a quite superb cup and ball routine, fisherman's pearls, card assembly. Very professionally put over with perfect timing.

Second Place + 500
Tom Stone

Swedish magician who was completely new to me. His slight struggle with the language and impish charm were strongly in his favour while he romped through a series of routines during which his shoe repeatedly appeared on the table under misdirection. The most prominent routine was a 'Tommy Wonder and beyond' cup and ball routine where the bag ended up inside a cup only to be replaced by, you guessed it, his shoe.

First Place, The Kevin Reay Trophy + 1000

One of those pure competition acts that was a unanimous winner with everyone who saw it. It is very difficult describe this act in a few sentences which was hilariously funny with superb card magic. After introducing himself with a very funny sequence of subtitle banners, Hayashi struggled with a strong Japanese accent before introducing his 'language translation machine', the machine translated as he spoke with a very funny sequence and a number of machine malfunctions which eventually ended up with Hayashi speaking perfect plum English and the machine speaking Japanese. The machine had the final say with the CD tray ejecting for the final card revelation.

In general, the competition was of an extremely high standard as was the rest of the weekend. It is only a shame that it is twelve months before the next one.

Kevin Gallagher, December 2003