Nottingham Guild of Magicians

The Magic & Laughter Show
29th January 2006
Reported by Graham Harper

Magic, Laughter and a whole lot more!


The compact and friendly Bonington Theatre, Arnold, Nottingham was once again the home to the Nottingham Guild of Magicians latest venture “The Magic & Laughter Show” on Sunday 29th January 2006.

A star-studded line up marked the re-inauguration of Freddie Wilkinson as the President of the Nottingham Guild. The event in more recent years has been marked by a lavish stage show which judging by the ticket sales has become very popular.

Guild members and a few visitors had already been privileged to watch Wayne Dobson deliver an afternoon lecture of magic-craft and reminiscence second to none; stories of interaction with other members of the business all enchanted the audience.

This included question time where anything went! The presentation as Wayne called it “It’s not a lecture as I’m still learning” came to an end by the Guild making Wayne an Honorary member for services to the art of magic and entertainment. Something I’m guessing took Wayne a bit by surprise.

But on with the show…

Erstwhile winner of TV’s ‘New Faces’ and compère extraordinaire Derek Lever, for all the world looked as if he might be needing a new face when he commenced the show by fire-eating his way through a star wheel of six brands.

Stagehands Roy Bond and Neil Haywood, mouths wide open fielded like demented outfielders with buckets of sand and water whilst head Theatre honcho Bob Massey knelt and prayed.

No one need have worried; the wiley Pyromaniac triumphed as he did with the rest of his evening’s task.

Stuart Brown came next with his very slick award winning manipulation act, Dancing Hank, Cards, Ribbons etc were all executed and stored neatly in a pure white Ionic pillar, now the magic had really started.

Next to take the stage was young local talent and Guild member Ian Lea. An elaborate cards across involving very special teleportation equipment (In actuality a daft hat, lengths of ribbon, a switch that looked like a plate of spaghetti and two teleportation pads and not to forget the clothes pegs!) Ian had the audience in stitches but to quote a guest to follow “And there’s more.”

With his thumbs tied together Ian variously got attached to everything in sight including his volunteers! A very funny and well thought out act, Ian will go far.

Wayne Dobson had already endeared himself to the magicians during his afternoon lecture, now he was let loose on the Muggles and how did he! Within minutes of being on, the auditorium was in raptures. After a ‘Fuzzy Duck’ warm up, he did one of the best Tossed Out Deck routines to be seen. Wayne’s dry humour, impish smile and immaculate sense of timing e.g. on the count of three swiftly following the requested deed all added to the absolute delight of the audience. Peter Presto, a seasoned performer himself, was literally crying as he assisted the Maestro with a Bill vanish, the tempo was relentless.

So oh what a shame that a local self professed wizard on the front row tried to momentarily upstage Wayne towards the end of the routine - what a mistake!

Thunderous applause followed by a standing ovation was the final verdict from the audience. Wayne please keep mispronunciating those worms!

After a short interval where yours truly and fellow Guild members Nick Brunger and Rich Berry were entertaining the masses in the bar came the second half.

Phoenix a.k.a. Paul and Emma hit the stage with a rapid well-sequenced illusion act which put huge physical demands on the master and his energetic assistant. This act was at speed and packed with excellent routines including Shadow Box, Victory Cartons, Girl into 9, Modern Art and X-factor all which passed in whirlwind of waggling feet, waving hands, and a series of gaps in places where five seconds earlier, there had not even been places!

As the low lighting lifted and it appeared that the sun had come out, the top of the bill appeared from a light fringed cabinet in a puff of smoke… Jimmy Cricket.

The next 45 minutes passed oh so quickly, it was manic, it was hilarious, it was so quick fire that I defy anybody present to repeat more than one or two of Jimmy’s lines. Judging from his impersonations you wouldn’t want him to see your children across the road either.

This was variety at it’s very best, Comedy, Juggling, Giant Wasps and all family orientated.

How good it was also to hear from his Mammy once again, thanks for the tears of joy Jimmy and a brilliant end to the evening.

The show was devised by Freddie Wilkinson and Andrew (pull that rope) Morrison, who also stage-managed on the night.

The next planned extravaganza (according to the programme) is on Sunday 17th September, with special guest and no doubt a few “Piff, Paff, Puffs” Geoffrey Durham.

See you all there,

Graham Harper

PS - If you missed Wayne’s lecture why not visit his website and pick up his ‘un-clamped’ DVD as it’s worth every penny.   

© Graham Harper, February 2006