The Nottingham Guild of Magicians Magical Variety Show
Sunday 28th February 2010
Reviewed by D Lewis

The Nottingham Guild of Magicians presented their Magical Variety Show at the Nottingham Arts Theatre on Sunday the 28th February 2010, and once again it was a roaring success.

Opening the evening was a truly wonderful and dynamic performance from Paul Dabek and his doves; who wowed the audience with his flare and magical ability. This was followed by John Dornan, the winner of The Nottingham Guild’s Stage Competition last July. John, known for his “one-liners”, had the audience laughing along with him, especially when he had an unsuspecting gentleman searching for a card that was stuck on John’s forehead at the time.

The third act was Neil Haywood, bringing a change to the show with a fantastic vocal comedy impression of Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones. To conclude the first part of the show, there was a hysterically funny performance by John Kimmons and his puppet Charlie. This ventriloquist had us all in stitches when he invited two members of the audience on stage and had them wear animated masks whilst giving them funny voices and dialogue.

We then had a short interval before being delighted with the stylish and graceful magic of Su Jayne, whose act included roses, umbrellas and linking rings. The compere for the evening, Graham Harper, who had been keeping the audience entertained between acts, now gave a riveting performance of his own. He got a lady to shoot at a pack of cards and then found her card with two bullet holes in within the middle of the pack. The pace of the evening changed once again when Martyn James and Company finished the second part of the show. They performed some sensational illusions and the comedy aspect of the performance added to the audiences delight, as they escaped from ropes, barbed wire and barrels.

After another second short interval, the last part of the show commenced with Paul Dabek illuminating the audience with creative and imaginative shadow puppets using solely his hands. Paul was followed by the return of Neil Haywood, who gave us a decidedly different look at how magicians can dress! After inviting a young lady on stage to help him, Neil, in stockings and suspenders, proceeded to put a sword through her neck; very difficult with everyone laughing so much!

The last act of the evening, the hugely popular Jimmy Cricket, kept the audience amused with his individual brand of humour. He was wearing his trademark cut-off evening trousers and wellies and doing his “one-liners” and impressions whilst juggling; it was a wonderful finale to the show.

With magicians, vocalists, ventriloquists and comedians, it’s great to see variety back in our theatres. Thanks must be given to Andrew Morrison for all his hard work and effort in directing the show, and also to Roy Bond and Graham Colvan for their work backstage. Well done to The Nottingham Guild of Magicians for producing an exceptional evening of entertainment.

© D Lewis, March 2010