Wed Afternoon Stage
We are fast approaching the midpoint of the marathon that is FISM ... how much magic can one man watch in a week ? Time will soon tell ;-)
1. Raul Faig Raul Black Illusions Spain
A vampire illusionist with the typical look how wonderful I am demeanour with PVC clad assistants and exposed butt cheeks. Out come the toys ... water tank, sword chest, fire, and strange homemade contraption with cardboard teeth attached. Twilight fans would be proud.
2. Stefan Olschewski Mentalism Germany
Finally a mentalist who doesnt take himself seriously. He starts off with the stereotypical dark lighting, dramatic mood music and overly ridiculous prose ... only to then shout enough of this crap much to the delight of the assembled masses. In a rare coup Stefan brings Derek Lever on stage looking resplendent in his newly acquired snow white and the seven dwarfs hat as part of the routine ... no surprise which picture Richard will be featuring on the next Genii cover ;-)
3. Juan Jose Baron Bayal Magic Taps Comedy Magic Spain
A 1920s caricature of a dance-hall act which unfortunately is too close to reality. Fascinating how comedy magic is seldom funny and usually contains limited magic.
4. Osmany Lecusay Martin General Magic Germany
Its the fall of the German empire I am afraid. At one stage, Germany was producing hit act after hit act ... but no more unfortunately. Top hat & tails ( shoot me now ) ... canes to silk to confetti ... with umbrellas to boot. Note to performer: shouting to yourself on stage is just wrong.
5. Hector Lumbadini Lumbardini Manipulation Argentina
Waiter tuned magician with a hat on a thread in act that quickly lost interest.
6. Chih-Ping Huang Chipin Huang General Taiwan
A camera and photo-album act featuring pictures of magicians Copperfield, Tamariz, Topas etc. appearing on the back of card fans. Yes ... my response was the same.
7. Augusto Zanardi Larry Mentalism Argentina
A new punishment awaits those who fall foul of the world of magics by laws ... you will be forced to watch mentalism at FISM. Magic Larry has become the running gag at Blackpool ( as if we dont have enough ) due to his poor English and ending each sentence with Okay? Wearing a doppled-grey suit from the 1930s the audience cannot hear a word he says and fast grows restless. Punctuating his routines with my English not so good stating the obvious has never been more so than here. Heckled by the FISM masses the jury should have put him out of his misery but let the trainweck continue.
8. AbraCapella Comedy Magic Germany
A five person acapaella group who parodied everything that is wrong with the world of magic. Not exactly a FISM act ... but highly amusing and light relief.
9. Jean Paul Olhabery Manipulation - Chile
A wandering traveller-cum-busker with guitar case ... cards and contact juggling. Very theatrical.
10. Xavier Tapias General magic - Spain
Set in a railway station the act lacked oomph at the start. A cardboard box is fashioned into a chair, a dancing tie, animated bear and at the end he rides off in a car fashioned from the bric-and-brac on stage. Such animatronics may have been impressive 10 years back but with Steve Axtells wizardry so freely available ... are we applauding the performer or his equipment ?
11. Guy Garrett Illusions - England
Another generic illusionist. Giant turbine fan, dancing hank ( seriously a dancing handkerchief ) compressor / squasher vanish illusion and a custom zig-zag with upside down torso. Insert any performer in his place and we would know no different.
12. Vittorio Marino Comedy Magic - Italy
A midget magician ( the politically correct police can call me out for this now ) who starts off small on the left side of the stage and grows in size as he moves to the right. Nice concept but poorly executed ... and repeated to death. Sometimes less is more.
13. Juan M. Gallego Luque Juan Luque General Magic Spain
A painful piece to watch ... cut and restored rope, our first mirror glass at FISM ... and the person behind me saying he needs shampoo and a comb
14. Kim Hyun Joon Manipulation Korea
A Korean powerhouse with a kaleidoscope of color changing cards, incredible visual transformations and some moments of pure magic The danger the Koreans now face is that their performances now all start to blur. They are all so technically good that this is no longer a differentiating factor it is now the norm. Separating the one act from the other is proving to be more and more of a challenge.
15. Oliver Tabor General Magic England
Lets call it quits from the start when a vanishing dove cage is sighted on stage. I think FISM should offer contestants a guideline list of effects which they should avoid. Playing the transforming role of magician/musician we had piped applause, violin strings to rope ( that must have seemed like a good idea at the time ), dove from jacket, jumbo violin and a streamer confetti canon for the finale.
16. Miguel Pelegrin Doble Mandoble Comedy Magic Belgium
An novel entrance where Miguel walks across the stage and instantly reappears on the other side. An assistant in drag, lit match from crotch and vanishing linking rings. Different it was.
17. Chisato Suzuki Manipulation Japan
A throwback to the past ... cane to confetti, multiplying balls, color changing balls. And thats where the notes stopped.
18. Bond Lee General Magic China
Umbrellas, confetti, vanishing ball to confetti, appearing snowflake, cards and confetti, more of the same, an animated little snowman that came to life ... finishing with a massive snowstorm.
19. Jean-Phillipe Loupi Comedy Magic France
A mime/clowning act with a stretch of fabric across the stage. The performer mimes the appearance of going up and down an elevator, thrown across a treadmill, all whilst trying to catch an elusive camera behind the sheet. Lots of FISM flashes.
Another long, but enjoyable day of magic. Still two more days of acts to go!
Special mention must be made of one of the hardest working people here at FISM 2012 ... stage contest manager Gay Ljungberg. Enormous credit goes to him and his amazing crew for making sure things run like clockwork. Its a joy to be able to sit back and watch so many contest acts without a technical hitch in sight. Thank you, Gay !
Comedy Capers Gala Show
Deciding to do a comedy show for a multi-lingual audience is brave at best. Attempting to produce a show by spending the least amount of money possible is insulting ... especially when entrance was 500 Euros a piece.
The evenings line-up ... Veronin, Mr Blub and his Bubbles, John Archer, Clive Webb & Danny Adams, Stan Allen, The Great Nardini, Richard McDougall and Amethyst.
You would be forgiven for thinking some of these names sound familiar we saw three of them on Monday ... Veronin. Clive Webb. Danny Adams.
When you are having to recycle your performers on your evening gala show you know that something is very, very wrong or more plainly lets see if we can do our utmost not to book any extra talent.
Veronin starts the show with his comedy set featuring stage hands running across the stage knocking his table over. Repeatedly. Not funny in my book but comedy is clearly different in Britain as the audience ( which included lay people ) delighted in such antics.
From there we moved to Mr Blub and his Bubbles. A bubble artist at the best of comedy magic gala show ? Yes, that would make perfect sense.
Whilst still trying to work out the rationale, an 11 year old performer by the name of Tigran takes to the stage with his manipulation act. While the youngster is talented, this is a FISM World Championships of Magic stage gala show ... not the place to be featuring a junior performer in front of 2500 magicians who are expecting and deserve the best of the best.
The rationale I suspect is far more financial. Tigran is the son of excellent quick change artists, Sos & Victoria. Buy one act get the kid for free, was no doubt the thought process.
Comedian John Archer was next on our fast track to fun and had the unenviable task of performing for a not particularly appreciative audience. His set seemed to drag on for ages involving a whole long process to find a chosen key to open up a box containing his wallet and watch. One-liners were flying thick and fast and met with deafening silence ... and John knew it. Perhaps this plays big in a smoke-filled comedy club. But not on the Opera House stage.
My agony was not over yet. Clive Webb & Danny Adams returned from Mondays opening show with sad visual gags, puerile humour and men dressed in pink pixie outfits. They said it best themselves: I cant believe we get away with this crap.
Stan Allen somehow got himself involved in this delight of a gala ... and was its only highlight. His ten minutes with a puppet rabbit finding a selected card was amazing and proved just how skilled a performer he is ...Shawn Farquhars daughter, Hannah, added to the fun as Stans on-stage helper.
This moment of genuine enjoyment though fast vanished as Stan introduced our next torturous instalment - The Great Nardini. The name of the act should say it all. A parody of everything that is wrong with magic ... except in this case parody more closely reflected reality with dove pans, bird cages, metamorphosis and men in drag. Clive Webb & Danny Adams played the role of inept magicians ... why subject us to another depressing reflection of where our art is at ?
A brief interlude followed with Richard McDougalls well-known cigarette manipulation act before we reached the most disheartening of all - closing illusionist, Amethyst aka Danny Hunt. Complete with buxom assistant we were treated to a parade of the most uninspired presentation of illusions yet seen. This was every box available in the dealers catalogue wheeled on and wheeled off... mirror penetration, cube zag, sawing a woman in eighths, Pavels moving knot, Spike illusion and tiger cage. Zero originality. Zero presentation. Remove the performer and substitute with anyone else and we would be none the wiser. How a sad a statement is that ? And to make matters worse, Danny Hunt is one of the FISM jurors ( and so terribly upstaged the following day by The Netherlands Prince of Illusions who quite possibly presented one of the best illusion acts a FISM contest has seen in recent years!)
Our display of boxes finished with the production of an agitated 600lb Bengal tiger who clearly did not enjoy the pulsating music and flamethrower explosions. A Bengal tiger in Blackpool, England. The era of exotic animals in magic is fast coming to an end ... and the sooner the better.
On exiting the theatre many people were commenting: poor animal. The best response poor audience
Photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 772&type=3