Ian Rowland’s One-Man Show - Magic of the Mind
Blackwell Hall, Harrow Weald, Middlesex
Sunday 22nd May 2011

Reviewed by Michael Vincent

Busier than ever with shows and lectures around the world, Ian Rowland seldom gets the chance to present his full-length solo show for the public. So when I discovered Ian would be performing his one-man show at a charity event in West London, I jumped at the chance to see him at work. It was excellent. Ian’s performance was his contribution to the Pennies From Heaven Charity run by Magic Circle member Peter Altman.

There was about a hundred and fifty people in attendance at The Blackwell Hall, Harrow Weald, Middlesex. Supper was provided prior to Ian’s performance. The general mood was jovial and I was happy to see some old friends.

The show was divided into two halves.

First Half. Ian opened with his original routine ‘Light Metal’. A spoon-bending routine with lots of built in humor including one funny gag where the assisting spectator hits Ian on the head with a spoon.

One thing I have always enjoyed about Ian’s delivery is his ability to connect with an audience. He spent several minutes getting to know his audience with an interesting process where everyone stood up and answered elimination questions so he could whittle the audience down to one person. This followed by a thought-of card revelation.

Ian’s skill in the field of Mental Magic or Mentalism is well documented and his routine entitled ‘Review’ proved very effective. In this routine, he attempted to mind-read any piece of information a spectator wanted (in this case his exact date of birth.) It appeared to go horribly wrong. But was then turned around with a curious surprise and strong reaction.

A Psychometry demonstration followed involving a woman who sealed three different thoughts (based on three different senses) in thick padded envelopes before the show. Ian attempted to discern the contents of each one, just by touch alone.

To close the first half, Ian presented his interpretation of Larry Becker’s ‘Sneak Thief’ with a drawing dupe finale.

The Second half continued with the same impetus and infectious delivery. One of the highlights of this period was a fascinating piece of Kirigami. This is the art of Paper Cutting, here Ian present a routine he calls ‘Kirigami Rings’.

A page of newspaper is cut into two linked squares. This topological curiosity was well received and I ended up with the final puzzle in my hands, very baffling.

Ian closed his performance with an impossible prediction called ‘Nude Hat’. A word chosen at random in a book turned out to have been the subject of a prediction he placed in front of 2000 million people.

What made this presentation so effective for me was the combination of strong material presented with a humorous delivery, excellent communication and most important, powerful connection with the audience. I have found Mentalism very challenging to present, Ian makes it looks so easy, artless and effortless.

Judging by the audience response, the whole show and evening was well received on behalf of a great cause.

I want to acknowledge Peter Altman for his commitment to wanting to make a difference to his charity Pennies From Heaven.

This event was organised by Pennies from Heaven, a fund-raising group set up in 1978. To date, the group have raised over £200,000 for a variety of charities; the profit for this particular evening goes to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, and to Butterflies, a bereavement counseling group. Chairman Peter Altman explained that the magic evening raised nearly £1,300 from ticket sales, a raffle, and a tombola, but that this amount is doubled by Barclays Bank by their matched fundraising scheme, since two Barclays employees helped on the night.

© Michael Vincent, July 2011




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