The Nottingham Guild of Magicians Annual Stage and Close-up Competition 2013
16th June 2013
Reviewed by Graham Harper

This established event in the Nottingham magic calendar took place on Sunday 16th of June and proved as popular as ever with over 100 paying guests enjoying a whole evening of close up and stage magic. The Guild have always held these competitions in house until it was opened up to the public who were already supporters of shows produced by them. Such was the demand for tickets that three years ago it was moved to The John Godber centre in Hucknall where it remains and thrives. The range of routines during the close-up was extensive with no overlapping routines which is always a danger. Strict time limits made the task all the more exacting.

Participants were: Charley Horthorne-Bales, David Hurst and Daniel Dores in the junior section. The seniors comprised of Marcel Burn, Dean Grimshaw, Jo Birch, Rob Nekros, Carl Wilkinson and Shane Morrison. All acquitted themselves in a professional manner and were shown appreciation by the audience.

The winner of the junior close–up was Daniel Dores, the senior trophy being won by relative newcomer Dean Grimshaw. Deans level of composure and engagement especially with young members of his audience was immense.

The stage competition was keenly fought by Rhys Smith, Rob Nenekros, Charley Horthorne–Bales, Clive Fishlock, Daniel Dores aka Sherlock, and Mathew Arwen-Langam.

Rhys treated the audience to a madcap signed card to sealed deck provided by an able volunteer who was subjected to metal rod through neck throughout the routine. Rob Nekros played his alter ego Professor Klaus who was more than slightly effeminate and had the mystical power of being able to smell and taste a secreted chosen sweetie much to the amusement of the audience – a major departure from the norm.

Charley performed an extremely polished act of magic classics including dancing cane and dagger through arm culminating in a fine snow storm, all accompanied by a relentless stream of dead pan one-liners.


Clive Fishlock skillfully performed a silent act for the first part using classic magic including ropes and rings. The gags then started to flow but facial expressions in the first half more than adequately entertained and carried the audience along. Solid traditionalism delightful expressionism.

Matt Arwen-Langam produced a series of eliminations using volunteers and eventually, using loaded staple guns avoided causing himself serious harm by demonstrating the last out of the four would have done just that – a tense performance.


Daniel Dores was Sherlock and performed essentially a themed magic square through a convoluted series of mathematically based eliminations and astonishing coincidences. The final number by sequential reasoning spelt out Sherlock a fitting and surprising final revelation.

The victor in the junior stage section was Charley Horthorne Bales and the senior award went to Rhys Smith.

The evening was linked by Barrie Perkins and a performance whilst votes were counted was presented by John Dornan a comedic magician. The awards were presented by President Andrew Morrison and the votes collated by Dawn (Vorderman) May. A great deal of gratitude must go to other Guild members and associates who made the event the success that it was and The Guild also extend their thanks to Doug Gregg and Peter Wall for judging the magic content of the competitor's performances.


© Graham Harper, June 2013