British Magical Society Annual Dinner and Cabaret 2013

Tally Ho Conference & Banqueting Centre, Birmingham

23rd March 2013

Reported by Donald Bevan

Just less than 100 members and friends enjoyed a convivial evening on Saturday March 23rd, our second visit to the Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Following reception photographs by Avant Photography, Grace and The Queen by President Paul Cadley, the evening was underway. Principal guests were Duncan Trillo and Keiko. Sadly missed were David and Ruth Berglas and Steve and Septima Evans. Missing too were Honorary Vice President Roy Johnson and Janet, beaten by bad weather in the wilds of Leicestershire.

Without exception, at least to my ears, everyone praised the excellent four course meal, the serving staff efficient and friendly. Toasts and speeches were few and brief. As President-Elect, Master of Ceremonies John Jeremy proposed Our Guests with information and light-hearted quips, even telling us what a bargain his new suit was! Duncan Trillo responded, with kind words for the BMS, its members and history. On behalf of the Society President Paul Cadley thanked Duncan and highlighted the multi-tasks of some BMS members, thanking friends for their support during the year.

Presentations followed, the highlight being The David Berglas Award. This magnificent trophy (it really is a big one!) is awarded from nominations by BMS members to a British magician for outstanding service to British magic. The final decision is made by the immediate five BMS Past Presidents. Over almost two decades the trophy, bearing many famous names, has been presented by Honorary Vice President David Berglas himself; the recipient this year, from the hands of the BMS President was Duncan Trillo, whose work with the popular website MagicWeek details so much of what is happening in the world of magic. Well deserved.

Domestic awards as follows: President's Wand to Paul Cadley, by Past President Neil Roberts. The Ray Bradbury Close-up Trophy and Roy Eddington Pocket Tricks Drive Trophy to Steve Evans in absentia. Maurice Trophy for Parlour Magic won by Craig Petty. Blue Ribbon for performance, George Symes. BMS Jewel to Jay Adkins, Stephen Buxton, Thom Peterson (not present), and Craig Petty. For long service Derek Robbins received a 50-year engraved tankard. Finally, the Fred Walker Trophy in memory of founder member and Secretary for more than 50 years, awarded at the sole discretion of the President for service 'beyond the call of duty', was handed to Neil Roberts.

According to the programme it was cabaret time, except two magic acts appeared on the well equipped stage and only Alec Powell the compère worked 'on the floor'. He 'meandered' between acts, but managed to successfully vanish a beaker after exposing the 'how' – all of course in the name of entertainment. Brian Sefton, immaculate in dress, style and magic as ever, pulled applause with card, coloured balls and thimble manips. plus the ultimate Zombie presentation. A class act in classic style.

To close, Van Buren and Co. (the Co. two stylish, gorgeous girls) bounded on stage with a whirlwind of magic, escapology and circus skills. A vintage radio, finely tuned, vanished and a lady was suspended via Super Super-X a la Robert Harbin and more. Andrew Van Buren had fun with the Kellar rope tie, speedy strait-jacket escape and juggling on unicycle. This session ended with Andrew battling a dozen spinning china plates, some within split-seconds of toppling but always recovered. A real applause puller. Finally from two freely displayed folding wooden screens formed into squares and clearly empty, appeared a plethora of large botanias and bouquets, numerous sunshades and silks, the display filling the stage. A fast, exciting finish to a great evening.

Close-up magic around the tables by George Symes, Derek Robbins, Jay Adkins and Stephen Buxton, plus Tombola by Martin and Stuart and raffle by Pam Buckley, with Anne Bennett and Jo Bevan, all added up to another highly successful evening for the British Magical Society. Which, just to remind you, is the oldest continuous magic club in Europe, if not the world!

© Donald Bevan, March 2013