The 8th Top Secret Day of Magic
Sunday 6th June 2004 Milton Keynes
Reviewed by Chris Wardle MMC

Well Gary did it again! His 8th one-day convention had a great line-up of top stars, a wide range of dealers and was, quite rightly, a complete sell-out!

The day kicked off with an official opening by the chairman of The Magic Circle, Mr Richard Stupple, who in turn introduced a 'regular' at Gary's days, the incomparable Terry Seabrooke. He in turn introduced the first lecture of the day from Mark Shortland. Mark is full of enthusiasm and lively humour and got the day off to a cracking start. Highlights of his lecture included a clever biscuit production for children and a novel just-chance type routine.

Then followed time to browse the dealers, who included Practical Magic, Merlins, Stephen Tucker, Peter Scarlett Magic, Magical Wonders, Alakazam, R.A.R Magic, Bradford Magic Studio, The Card Collection, Kaymar Magic, Albion Magic, Pennywise Magic, Andy Nyman, Luke Jermay, Hocus Pocus Magic, Wayne Dobson's 'DTRIK', Presto Magic, Dream Concepts and Colin Roses' Five of Hearts Magic Productions. A wide range indeed, which ensured that wallets left the convention decidedly slimmer!

After lunch was the 'Star Lecture' from Tommy Wonder. He was a dream from start to finish. His style and clarity meant that you could have heard a pin drop while he was lecturing. Everything he did was a highlight, but his diminishing cards was particularly clever and magical.

The next lecture was from Luke Jermay, offering his own brand of mentalism. He certainly knew how to hold and control an audience and he has a very original style of performance.

Martin Cox was the final lecturer of the day, billed as the 'Hardman of magic' he certainly lives up to the title. His quick-fire humour and off-the-cuff style is refreshing and startling. He had some clever tips about approaching and handling a seated group when table-hopping and worked some surprising and very funny card magic.

Gary had indeed gathered a great line up to give us possibly the widest variety of performers over the 8 years. After a final visit to the dealers and time for tea, came the Cabaret. This was compered by Terry Seabrooke who gave us a sample of the great tricks and gags for which he is so well-known and loved. First up were a young illusion act called Viva who presented a very colourful and original act with the assistant involved as much as the magician. They have won the originality act twice from the IBM and you could see why. Next was Mark Shortland who was as zany, manic and humorous as ever. He has excellent comic timing and his 'catching a foam disc in the teeth' was hilarious. Changing the pace and mood came Luke Jermay. He used much of the material he had done in his lecture, which put him at a disadvantage, but this did not phase him and he got a superb reaction from one member of the audience as the climax to his final effect when he handed her the rose she had been thinking of. Changing the pace again came COSMIK - Martin Cox and his lovely assistant, who are an absolute riot. Very clever, very funny and just the right amount of 'magic'. Closing the show was Tommy Wonder, who was graceful and engaging, including cups and balls, a floating birdcage and the vanish and later appearance of the bird within in his performance.

An excellent show and an excellent day.

Thank you Gary and here's to the next one!

İ Chris Wardle MMC, July 2004.