An Evening of Magic and Illusion

Sunday 1st February 2009

Reviewed by Graham Harper

Nottingham Guild of Magicians President's Night - An Evening of magic and illusion

On Sunday 1st February at the Bonington Theatre Arnold Nottingham, The Guild of Magicians staged their bi-annual show, on this occasion in honour of their in-coming President Marcel Burn.

Directed and stage managed by Andrew Morrison and his trusty crew of Roy Bond and Graham Colvan, the show was glitzy. As the audience arrived in the auditorium they were greeted by an eight foot “Grim Reaper”- Roy Bond’s alter ego.

The show was opened with a three minute routine by the Lorna Leighton School dance members who performed magnificently again to open the second half. Their theme was in the Burlesque genre.

Let the magic commence.........Kevin Burke treated the audience to an amazing book test , his command of the audience demonstrated his acting background. He then concluded with a breath taking version of Russian roulette swapping the familiar gun for a series of hangman’s nooses chosen at random by audience members. Kevin had lectured on “outs” during the afternoon and the writer was on the verge of praying the he didn’t fall to Murphy’s Law as he stepped off his podium to hang himself. The tension in the audience was tangible – the relief of his success audible.

Danny Hunt and Annette Claire further built that uncertain unease amongst the audience as Danny demonstrated his commensurate skills of escapology as he wowed the gathering performing his version of the water tank escape. Audiences love to wonder at escapology without the curtains of old. This was truly amazing.

Tony Stevens, who compèred the show, entertained to close the first half with his inimitable quick-fire style – hilarity was truly the result of his slick performance.

John Archer (photo) created the degree of comical mayhem which only he can. The Magic Circle’s Stage Performer of the Year was taken to the hearts of the audience. Magic Square, balloon swallowing and relentless quick fire patter left the audience gasping for breath. His deft performance on the ukulele punctuated his set. An excellent performance!

Amethyst closed the show with a stunning display of illusions. Their smooth choreographed act with Annette’s singing is a spectacle to behold. Their performance is polished and their props are immaculate. It seems that there is nothing that this couple cannot walk through, escape from, or apparently re-assemble disparate parts of their person from a series of containers. America is to welcome them shortly and welcome them they will. Fab guys!

The next Guild Show will be on 13th September 2009 at the Bonington Theatre and will form part of the celebrations for what is their 70th birthday.

© Graham Harper, February 2009



An Evening of Magic and Illusion

Sunday 1st February 2009

Reviewed by D. May


Once again the Nottingham Guild of Magicians hosted a fantastic show at the Bonnigton Theatre in Arnold, Nottingham which appeared to be a complete sell-out even though the presence of snow made attendance difficult. Several differences from previous shows created a more stylish and professional appearance.

Upon arrival at the theatre, you were greeted by two showgirls in fabulous costume selling a far superior programme than we have had previously. This included details on the Guild’s history, future endeavours and a well presented introduction for each artist performing, which left you anticipating a good show.

The show opened with a wonderful cabaret performance from a local dance school; the Lorna Leighton School of Dancing, before we were introduced to our compare for the evening. Tony Stevens was brilliantly funny through-out the show and warmed the audience with quick gags and hilarious punch-lines.

Kevin Burke, the first artist for the evening, treated us to a medieval twist on a classic form of punishment, which had people gripping their seats in the hopes that he did not hang his self! Audience participation added extra fear to this act as Kevin appeared to have no control over the choice of noose. This along with his jokes and banter produced an enjoyable first act.

This was followed by Amethyst, who presented us with a spectacular and dangerous Houdini-style water tank escape. Again this left us sitting on the edge of our seats and you could feel the tension within the theatre as he tried to free himself before he drowned. Tony Stevens’ running commentary added further suspense, especially when he told us of a recent near fatal attempt by Daniel Hunt to complete this escape.

The first half was brought to a close with a non-stop comedy performance from Tony Stevens which helped to lighten the mood and left people’s cheeks aching from laughter.

During the interval we were invited to the theatre’s bar, which was decorated for the occasion and treated to close-up magic by several talented performers. For those not wishing to leave their seats, magicians also performed close-up magic within the theatre. Before the recommencement of the show the usual raffle draw was presented by the Guild’s new president Marcel Burn with help from the showgirls.

The Lorna Leighton School of Dancing opened the second half with another delightfully burlesque cabaret performance before Tony Stevens introduced the next act, John Archer.

John was incredibly funny and treated us to a mixed act of magic, comedy and musical interlude. His attention to one particular member of the audience (Keith) provided us with a series of laughs at this poor gentlemen’s expense although there was no malice and the said gentlemen took the attention very well! John’s mathematical skill in calculating the number 57 in numerous different ways and in less than 24 seconds was outstanding and left the audience amazed!

The shows finale was a second performance by Amethyst who presented a marvellous variety of illusions and classic magic; including the production of his assistant from an empty cardboard box, colour-changing discs, a drink and newspaper trick, the creation of a snowstorm from a single flake and several attempts at cutting his assistant in half. All the pieces within this act were performed exceptionally well and created a sequence of amazement that left you completely baffled.

Overall the show was brilliant, funny, and by far the best yet! I extend my thanks and appreciation to the director Andrew Morrison and his hard working crew; Roy Bond and Graham Colvan, for a wonderful evening of entertainment. I’m already looking forward to the next Guild performance on September 13th!

© D May, February 2009