MindMagic 2001

The Park Court Hotel, London W2

11th November 2001
Reviewed by Ian Rowland

Photos by Duncan Trillo and Ian Rowland


MindMagic has been described as a 'mini-convention', a gathering of minds, or just a get-together for anyone who has ever loaded carbon paper the wrong way into a clipboard. Call it what you like, it is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable day in the magic calendar. Dreamed up, organised and hosted by Duncan 'Tireless' Trillo, MindMagic 2001 offered the usual splendid mix of talks, lectures and demonstrations plus ample opportunities to make new friends or just insult old ones.


First to take the platform was Paul Hallas, who demonstrated several practical, tried-and-tested routines with ESP cards, pictures and numbers. Paul's assured, confident manner shone through, and each routine included numerous subtle touches reflecting his seasoned professionalism.


Chris Hare was next, with a witty and enjoyable 'Master Memory' demonstration based on the names and registration numbers of everyone in the room. This, he explained, was his and Duncan's way of introducing everyone to everyone else! Is there anything the versatile Mr. Hare does not do?


To conclude the morning session, David Berglas gave an extended lecture which was without doubt one of the highlights of the day. David must have been in an especially generous mood, since he shared innumerable ideas, secrets, routines and subtleties drawn from his matchless experience in the field. The lecture championed two themes in particular. The first was the benefit of 'thinking big', which David illustrated (among other ways) by showing how he had re-invented a simple pocket trick into part of a large-scale mental illusion which could fill the largest stage. His second major theme was that of creating multiple climaxes for each routine. This too was illustrated in several ways, with the section on the 'Khan Slate' principle being particularly impressive. David also provided a sneak preview of the forthcoming Britland/Steinmeyer book on his life and work, and had time for questions and answers too! It was a superb lecture by any standards. I believe David has participated in every MindMagic to date, and there is no doubt the convention is greatly enhanced by his unique contribution.


After lunch, the platform was taken by Derren Brown and three members of the 'Mind Control' team: Andy Nyman, Anthony Owen and producer Andrew O'Connor. In what proved to be a very lively and good-natured session, the team fielded questions from the floor concerning Derren's exceptional TV shows - origins, practicalities, aims and plans for the future. All the panel members were satisfyingly candid and forthcoming, and the room was soon buzzing with questions, opinions and views. It was a rare privilege to be able to discuss these stunning TV shows in this way, and it is this kind of special event that really gives MindMagic its own distinctive atmosphere. As an extra treat, the team also showed one segment from Derren's new show, which should hit our TV screens towards the end of the year. Suffice to say it was yet another truly superb example of Derren's inimitable style of breathtaking and richly creative mentalism.


Although Derren was not officially attending to perform, he also treated us to a fascinating demonstration of Mind Control featuring five consecutive 50-50 guesses with 20 staked on the outcome - leaving the entire room baffled as usual.


Following the mid-afternoon break, Kevin Gallagher presented an ingenious three-phase routine with cards which incorporated telepathy, location and coincidence. Kevin's very intelligent material - based on an ingenious inter-locking of different principles - was captivating, and it is was a pleasure to see every nuance explained so clearly and methodically.


Next came Ian Keable with his outrageously entertaining lecture "How Not To Be a Mind Reader." Ian was on devastating form, and his talk was a seamless blend of genuine wit and priceless insights regarding mentalism. I doubt anyone in magic offers a funnier, more effortlessly entertaining lecture. Ian talked us through three very practical effects, and also tossed in one exquisite gag, based on a Derren Brown routine, which I think deserves some sort of trophy as the single funniest remark ever uttered at a magic get-together (Chris Hare, sitting next to me, almost had a hernia). If you want to know what was so funny, hire Ian to lecture at your local society. I've no idea what he charges, but he's worth double.


Ian's lecture was a tough act to follow, to be sure, but John Archer, presenting the final session of the day, brought the house down with his unique approach to comedy and mentalism. John is a genuinely likeable, funny and creative guy who builds routines in which the comedy enhances the mentalism and vice-versa - not easy, seldom attempted, and hardly ever done as well as John does it. His very finely-judged approach works superbly well, and brought the day to a satisfying closen.


MindMagic is always a superb, informative and fun day, and this year's was no exception. Congratulations to the self-effacing Mr. Trillo for organising such a fascinating program, and to all participants for their highly informative and entertaining contributions.

Reviewed by Ian Rowland 2001 www.ian-rowland.com

Visit the MindMagic website: www.mindmagic.co.uk