The London Festival of Magic 2013

11th - 15th November 2013

Reported by Roberto Forzoni

The Magic of Magic Monday 11th November
Street & Alfresco Magic Tuesday 12th November
Mentalism Wednesday 13th November
Card & Coin Magic Thursday 14th November
Characterisation & Stagecraft Friday 15th November


Day Four: Card & Coin Magic

A full theatre again, this time with card and coin enthusiasts, who were rewarded with a first class display of technical and entertaining performance from no less than nine performers. The quality of the day shone through.

Session One: Fat Chance: Peter Woerde (Holland)

A really good start to the card day to get everyone uplifted, Peter demonstrated some really good card and gambling type effects. He opened with some demos on various and extensive shuffling techniques ending by showing the deck was still in new deck order! He went on to give a number of great poker demonstrations with various spectators whereby the spectator seemingly always made the choices yet still lost. A coins-across routine with coloured poker chips, carried on the casino/gambling theme. Peter then continued with some delightfully skilful displays of a variety of gambling effects with cards including a Darwin Ortiz Triumph effect. The demonstrations were skillfully executed, as you would have expected, and with a real nice manner to boot! His explanations had the whole theatre in total attention mode. For more information check out

Session Two: Christian Engblom

Christian showed three real strong ‘workers’. He opened with an original and extremely clever bill switch effect with a spectator using a lovely utility device that didn’t go on any fingers! The device (which can easily be made by anyone and Christian was not selling it!) could be used with coin changes and really did give the feel of real magic before your eyes. He followed with a real neat card effect with a Pablo Picaso story line he called ‘The Near Perfect Circle’ (based on a Paul Curry original) – find it on the Fat Brothers DVD - it was a real audience pleaser as its premise and technical handling was really straightforward; an excellent one to take away!
He finished with an extremely clever and visual rubber band routine based on Dan Harman’s Travelling Cash.
For more information see:

Session Three:: Andy Gladwin

Andy demonstrated his Master Push off technique with a variety of effects - because of time constraints he demoed 5 moves in 5 minutes! And offered a free download from vanishing inc if he didn’t achieve this and asked for distractions – which he received in plenty – I will never look at Time Sutton the same way again (you need to ask someone who was there!)
Check the web site and if you’ve not seen or used this, technique, buy the DVD – it really is good.

Session Four: Miguel Angel Gea

Andy demonstrated some really neat card and coin magic with some excellent explanations; he especially got lots of attention for his method of transferring coins in a clever way - disguised from a closed hand to another. (I missed the first part of the demo – sorry Miquel) check for more info

Session Five: Close up magic of an Eccentric Nature: Charlie Frye

Charlie showed some coin magic to start and used poker chips (quite topical at moment with gambling routines) as an alternative to regular coins – starting with a neat balance and spin on his finger tip (a dealer item!). He then showed a delightful mixture of matrix-based effects including an ingenious gimmick device (you can easily make) for ‘dice’ matrix (the audience loved this one). Charlie followed with coin transfers and ‘three-fly’ type effects with small and large coins. Really entertaining, lots of stuff to take away. Well done Charlie Frye
Check out

Session Six: The Ultimate Travellers: Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is a real thinker in magic (and one of my inspirations - I used his cards across routine for my audition for the Magic Circle); today he shared his journey for a study of a classic effect - Dai Vernon’s ‘Travellers’. From the Vernon Touch (“use your head and be natural” from Dr Elliot), he spoke about having an authentic self-expression and gave some great insight and quotations along the way; he spoke of Vernon's quote about “learning one trick so well ..that everyone would talk about you” and continued quite eloquently of his journey whilst learning the travellers effect. He referred to an earlier version in his development of the routine posted on You Tube - Masterpiece of modern card magic
If you are interested in how to really develop a routine, and one way of really researching the history behind the process you/ effect you wish to use, go see this lecture by Michael Vincent if you can. Further information

Session Seven: Misdirection, punctuation and relaxation: John Carney

Another masterclass of magic performance; John is one of the most respected magicians around. He posed the question “What kind of magic are you trying to portray?” and offered his respected opinion on performance – “do you want to be perceived as a skilled performer or someone doing magic?” John gave an in depth look at what misdirection is and how to use it – he spoke about the manipulation of interest and focus, the psychology and timing involved, not just misdirection of the eye but your entire faculties. John explained the importance of doing your ‘move’ in the context and flow of performance and spoke of how he lost some technique but his moves became better because of it e.g. the pass; he quoted Erdnase “it is most crucial that the observer would not suspect let alone detect a move”
John finished an excellent lecture with this quote – “Misdirection is the art of concealing the art of magic”

Session Eight: Mandi Gilbert

Mandi gave an informative talk on how and why he uses certain techniques, referring to economy of emotion and being as natural as possible. His ways of forcing cards was superb and looked so innocent as to fool the most accomplished magician let alone lay person; he also demonstrated a neat techniques to switch cards, again using economy of motion. Mandi spoke about taking standard techniques and adapting them (e.g. double or triple lifts) with ability to move the double freely after the ‘dirty work’ had been done. He observed how so many ‘get ready’ moves are bad and look pretty obvious, so used time misdirection to avoid similar problems – it was about picking your time with an awareness of tension and relaxation. Mandi would extensively use jogged cards (and random spreads) for some innovative forces and misdirection – especially taking the heat of a set up – very clever! He finished with a neat Oil and water routine. If you see him around this weekend ask him to fool you!

Session Nine: Danny DaOrtiz

I have mentioned a few ‘masterclasses’ we have already had the pleasure of seeing this week. This really was a case of finishing the day with a bang. It was the first evening that there was not a formal show but for the full house who witnessed Danny’s performance tonight he did things we will NEVER forget. The lecture, demonstrations and explanations highlighted the reasons we do magic. A privilege to be there.


© Roberto Forzoni, November 2013