An Evening with Michael Vincent
“The Craft of Magic – A Transformational Conversation”
Cumbrian Magic Circle 27th January 2011
Reviewed by Stuart Bowie

The Cumbrian Circle is a new magic club, formed just over six months ago and we were privileged to be able to host a meeting featuring award winning magician Michael Vincent. Billed as workshop, we were delight that Michael chose to pre-view his new 2011 lecture “The Craft of Magic - A Transformational Conversation”. A lecture, he explained, that was not really a lecture, but a conversation between him and the audience with the aim of exploring how the performance of magic could be made more compelling, and more memorable.

Illustrated throughout by photographs, performance clips and pithy advice from some of magic’s greatest innovators, Michael took us on a journey through his own experience of learning the craft of magic, using his experience as a means to pass on the lessons he had learned along the way. Fascinating stuff. He has been fortunate enough to meet all his magical heroes bar two. Time spent initially with Alan Alan led to meeting Dai Vernon, Slidini, Cy Endfield, Michael Skinner and a host of others. The list read like a catalogue of magic’s greats.

From this experience Michael has extracted the lessons he had learned and passed them on, looking at the Construction and Design of the Effect, Tools and Techniques, Plots and Presentation and the all important Audience Attention Control or misdirection. Written like this the structure of the session might look a little dry, but Michael’s execution was far from that. Charming and funny, the conversation involved us all, posed questions to ponder and examined the answers we offered. The evening was a master class on how the performance of magic could be made more astounding, and consequently more compelling for the audience. Michael wanted us to learn how to engage an audience, something he did, perhaps unconsciously, by engaging and enthralling us!

For a group of enthusiastic magicians it was a delight. With superb technical skill much of the evening was spent with Michael illustrating key points through performance. We saw him perform and explain some of his key routines. Unlike the usual magic lecture these explanations were less about the technical method, more about how, using a combination of technical mastery, performance skill and crafted misdirection, the ultimate effects could be lifted.

Michael’s lecture, oops, sorry, conversation, is different to the usual magic lecture. Concerned with how to get the best from performance, this session focused on how to make a stronger impact with any of the magic we perform. Some of the audience members had traveled over a hundred miles to attend and all voted it an excellent night. If you get the chance don’t miss Michael Vincent’s 2011 conversation - The Craft of Magic.

© Stuart Bowie, February 2011