The 9th Top Secret Day of Magic

Organised by Gary Young of 'The Magic Zone' dealership
Sunday 5th June 2005, Milton Keynes
Reviewed by Chris Wardle MMC

Yet again Gary Young had gathered together a wonderful selection of magical stars and dealers to present another 'Top Secret' one-day Convention. The event was held in a plush collection of Open University rooms in Milton Keynes, including a large lecture theatre for the lectures and the closing gala show.

The event was opened by the prolific Peter Eldin, whose books have started many on their way in the world of magic.


The first lecture was from Dean Metcalf, one half of 'The Deans of Magic' who over one and a half hours shared many amusing tales of performing and touring, together with a demonstration of his excellent manipulative skills. His relaxed, humorous style had the audience absorbed and his stories of cruising, working in one or two 'interesting' night clubs together with his wise words and tips on ball, thimble and card manipulations made for a very informative lecture.


The second lecture came from Jay Scott Berry who showed us the 'best bits' of several of his lectures, revealing clever innovations he had made to 'hand held' gimmicks (they are too good to give away here - go and see the lecture!). These allowed him to perform instant colour changes to silks and balls as well as bare handed productions which looked as close to real magic as you'll ever get. This was a very artistic and well-crafted lecture, my own favourite effect being his cut and restored ribbon which revealed his devilishly clever thinking.


After lunch, plus time to see the wide range of dealers, the topic of magic for children was addressed by the experienced and ever-inventive Ian Adair. His creative output is staggering and he treated the audience to a range of ideas and routines which would have gone down well in any children's show. He interspersed the tricks with humorous patter and tips as well as lots of practical advice. He had various clever magic painting adaptations as well as a neat travelling wooden dice.


The final lecture was from card expert Paul Gordon. He wowed the audience with his close-up skills and offered advice and teaching in his accessible and informative style. His lecture included 'Easy Ace Estimation', a very clever double signed card in wallet and a comedy card item based around Charlie the Chicken. Paul's skills shine through in the many books of effects he has produced.


There was then an opportunity to attend one of two workshops, either dealing with close up card magic with Paul Gordon, for predominantly junior members or balloon modelling from Playtime Balloons.

The evening show was compered by the one and only Terry Seabrooke, who is something of a permanent fixture at these 'Top Secret' days - and long may he continue to be so. Terry had the audience in stitches with gags and comedy mentalism as well as his now obligatory and extremely good torn and restored paper.

The first act was Jay Scott Berry with an elegant act of silks, candles, glowing lights at his fingertips and an effortless walking knot, all performed to atmospheric music and with impeccable timing. The comedy magic of Simon Hannah followed, performing a bowling ball production, vanishing bottle and cod mentalism. Although his final effect did not go according to plan, he registered well with the audience and had some neat, but familiar, visual gags. Derby Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year winner, Stuart Brown, manipulated jumbo cards and offered an unusual cane to fairy lights before performing an appealing dancing hankie routine. Michael Pearse had a non-stop barrage of winning one-liners combined with excellent juggling skills, making for a very entertaining and skilful act. Finally The Deans of Magic closed the show in a literal 'blaze' of candles, flames and productions of huge glittering chandeliers, which closed the show with gasps and deserved applause.

The dealers present included The Magic Zone, Martin Sanderson, Practical Magic, Jay Scott Berry, Natzler Enterprises, Magical Wonders, The Card Collection, Playtime Balloons, Alakazam, Adrian Sullivan, Stephen Tucker Magic, Wayne Dobson's DTrik, Kaymar Magic, Zane's Magic Shop, Bradford Magic Studio, Merlins, Albion Magic, Kitchen Table Magic and Hocus Pocus.


Magicians in attendance included Chairman of The Magic Circle Richard Stupple, IBM Secretary John Pye, Noel Britten, John Archer, David Penn, Terry Herbert, Michele, Clive Moore, Alan Maskell, Mark Oberon and a brief appearance from Joe Pasquale, to name but a few, which shows the type of 'draw' Gary's days have!

This was another excellent Convention and next year's, the tenth, is sure to be something just as special. Don't miss it!

Chris Wardle MMC, June 2005.