The Richard Griffin Lecture - Cruise Ship Magic!
Anglian Magic Society, Norwich

Tuesday 16th February 2016

Reviewed by Steve Majes

Richard shot to fame in the magic community at the age of 17 when he won 'The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year Competition' with his stylish dove and manipulation act. He went on to win the 'International Brotherhood of Magicians Silver Shield' and 'The British Magical Championships' at the world's largest magic convention in Blackpool. So what has Richard been up to since those magic competition days? Everything!!!

From performing in the longest running theatre illusion show 'Mystique' to many cabaret tours and corporate appearances it was in 1998 that Richard took his act to the seas. He has now been all around the world several times as a showman on some of the world's largest cruise ships, and itís here that Richard has focused his lecture. The demand for new shows and new material on board the ships to get those contracts has given Richard a very creative mindset and 18 years later you can only start to imagine the material Richard has to share that we have never seen before.

The lecture started with a visual opening routine to music involving some high-jinx with a magically produced bottle of water and bottle top, culminating in a multiple production of lids and a funny applause cue of an ending. This routine really showed how Richard, with a simple premise, could create a full and magical routine. Much of Richard's magic packs small and plays big; this is one of the golden rules working the cruise liners as it cuts down a lot of excess baggage, especially when flying out to a port. Richard is now a solo performer, having started a family he is off working while his lovely wife Hayley keeps everything behind the scenes in order. This has not always been the case as Richard recalled many stories form his big illusion show days that he and his wife Hayley had experienced.

Itís not just stage style material that was shared during this lecture, close-up magic (with a bit of a flare) has also been a mainstay of Richard's journeys. 'The Impossible Card Through Scarf' was Richardís interpretation of the classic card through handkerchief plot. In his version a selected and signed card was returned to the centre of the pack and then put back into the card box, the box was cleanly placed in the middle of a chiffon scarf and then held by the corners suspending it, empty hand shown the selected card was pulled through the pack, the box, and the scarf!

Many helpful tips, advice and practical effects followed including some of Richard's now marketed effects like 'The Matrix Pad': dots drawn on the corners of a small post-it note pad were moved magical to one corner and then handed out for examination, this was very good and had a fast reset. 'Nosey Volunteers', a great stage prediction effect with different coloured clown noses. This effect alone was well worth the lecture price as it used simple props that looked and played so well on stage with a lot of comedy involving audience members along the way.

Other effects included a lovely visual torn and restored newspaper with a playful and unexpected ending. I could see this going into my family shows straight away. 'A Gift For You' was a great looking and stylish plot for a freely selected prize in bag routine where the magician wins the big value prize. It was great to hear the creative process and the evolution of this effect as many years ago, in Richard's early years, he did the routine with baby socks being selected. There was also a very commercial movie prediction routine that had many of the experienced magicians in the audience guessing the solution, only to be surprised by the actual method.

This was just a selection from the lecture as there were many more fun routines along with Richardís marketed items up for grabs, with some really great value lecture packages. Richard has such a passion, along with a cheeky fun side, for performing and creating magic and this came across in abundance as he happily chatted about ideas through the interval and even after his lecture had finished. If you are interested in working on the cruise ships, or just love visual and well constructed magic routines, then catch Richard's lecture before he sets sail for sunnier destinations.

© Steve Majes, February 2016