Zodiac Magical Society Annual Dinner
18th May, 2002
Reported by Mandy Davis


I was most impressed with the Jarvis Hotel in Ealing which hosted this magical dinner - before the day we were given a choice of three items per course, all of them tempting. In fact the quality and quantity of food was excellent - and, unusually for mass catering, the soup was piping hot.

President Peter Pinner used the numbers of items requested as the basis for a quiz whilst Richard Pinner performed perform his randomly selected 'Card in Balloon' routine, always a stunning trick.

Close up was performed at tables by John Eaton, Jack Mayes, Richard Pinner and John Charles who now lives in Canada but was a member of the Zodiac many years ago, under the name of Chas Chamberlain. His close-up show was impeccable. Starting and ending with a Ring, No Ring bell, John passed coins through a felt 'hole', ending with the production of enormous Chinese coins, continued with Professor's Nightmare, Balls in Net with no net, a selected card found inside a bulldog clip, previously placed on the table, and a very slick one cup and ball routine.

Two of the Zodiac's annual awards were presented to Richard Pinner and the third went to club secretary Jean Purdy before Freddy Firth presided over the fastest selection of raffle tickets and distribution of prizes I have ever seen. Then on to the cabaret!

Chris Hare came bounding onto the floor to present some of his own style of mental magic and comedy. A calculator trick which didn't quite work was swiftly followed by selected cards being counted to, names of objects merely glimpsed at being named and the recall of a swiftly memorised deck.

Emma Morris was a singer who Richard had met whilst working on some of the best known cruise ships. Her repertoire was just right for her audience that night - All That Jazz, Almost Like Being in Love, Judy Garland's Johnny One Note and On a Clear Day - her fine voice enhanced by a bubbly personality and huge smile.

The final act was the magic of Rousseau. Cigarettes appeared and disappeared, as did lighters, matches, cigars, balls and even a glass of alcohol. The polished routining and final appearance of a dove from a bouquet of flowers once again ensured a huge round of applause and brought the cabaret to an uplifting end leaving us all looking forward to next year's dinner.

Mandy Davis, May 2002