It is difficult to know where to start writing a
review for a day that was so choc-a-block full
of events. This was the 18th Annual one day
convention put on by the Ipswich Magical Society
and I have to say it was the most enjoyable one
I have attended so far.
I am not sure exactly why I felt this one was
better than previous ones, perhaps because the
choice of lecturers and performers offered such
a wide variety of magic genres.
In one format or another there was everything
from Comedy Magic, Mentalism, Bizarre, Classical
("Top Hat and Tails"), Illusions, Ventriloquism,
Juggling, Close-Up, Escapology, Children's and I
am sure 101 other types.
The worry was that the dealers would be a little
thin on the ground this year, especially as two
of the usual regulars couldn't make it (Card
Collection and Kaymar) and unfortunately
Alakazam had to cancel at the last minute due to
unforeseen circumstances. Having said that, the
remaining dealers did a sterling job and between
them, offering a huge wealth of effects, both
large and small that kept the dealer room
buzzing throughout the entire day.
I am not sure that there could have been a more
diverse set of magicians chosen to lecture than
the three selected. Not only was there someone
for everyone, I suspect everyone got something
out of each of the lectures. I know I did.
I know that more than a few people registered
for the day purely because Scott Creasey
(Mentalist and Escapologist) was lecturing. His
talk was a little rushed in places, but that was
mainly as he condensed his normal two hour
lecture into just one hour.
Having said that, the lecture was still
nonetheless fascinating. He spent the first half
(perhaps jus less than half) talking about
mentalism, mainly different peek methods all of
which he demonstrated with an easy and relaxed
style that highlights why he is one of this
countries top performing mentalists.
The second half was dedicated to Escapology and
although I suspect that there were not many
working escapologists present, it still has to
be said that it was still an extremely
captivating (did you see what I did there?)
talk. Scott discussed some of his own personal
escape related anecdotes and talked us through a
variety of escapology equipment from hand cuffs
to an un-gimmicked straight jacket that he then
proceeded to explain (and demonstrate) how to
I did manage to have a short conversation with
Scott throughout the day and I found him a
fascinating gentleman. I only wished I could
have spent more time talking to him. He offered
something a little bit different to this year's
convention and by all accounts his lecture was
received very well by all who were present.
When it comes to Comedy Magic, I think Jon Allen
is one of (if not the) best in his field. He has
his own unique style that utilises a vast array
of facial expressions, quick snappy patter and
of course both stunning and visually amazing
Magic. In my mind Jon Allen is a must see
performer, and he left everyone wanting more
once the lecture was over.
Perhaps the high-point of the lecture was his
take on the card on ceiling effect. You would
have to see the lecture hall to know exactly why
it was so impressive as not only is the ceiling
extremely high (and I do mean extremely high),
it is also criss-crossed with struts that would
make your average Joe Magician wet his pants
before attempting such a feat, certainly without
a safety net. The only thing I think he could
have added to it was having a pair of binoculars
that he could have passed around so that we
could have actually seen the card a little
The last lecture of the day was by that legend
of magic. Mr. Scott Penrose. I have to admit I
had never seen him perform before, but that
isn't to say I didn't know who he was. I can now
quite categorically state that his reputation in
magic is very well deserved. He is the epitome
of the professional magician. Think top hat and
tails. Think silks, doves and disappearing
candles and you will know exactly who I am
talking about. He even had the dealers rushing
out of the dealer room to see his lecture. In
short, Scott Penrose IS a class act.
The theme of his lecture was "Making your magic
more magical", and he demonstrated how, with a
little thought even the simplest of tricks could
be made just that little bit more flashy, that
little bit more magical.
The magic he performs may not be to the taste of
some of the new breed of "street magicians" that
are cropping up everywhere, but I doubt anyone
who watched his lecture was anything less than
glued to his every word.
The first activity after lunch was an hour of
close-up with two of the guest lecturers and two
of the Ipswich Magical Societies own home grown
The format was 4 tables in each corner of the
room, with each magician performing for 15
minutes at each table.
It has to be said that both the Ipswich
magicians, Daren Morgan and Robert Cope can hold
their heads up high after performing with full
time professionals Scott Creasey and Jon Allen.
Those, like me, who had already heard of Jon
Allen's "The Silent Treatment", knew we were
going to be in for a big treat and we weren't in
the least disappointed. Jon Allen was born to
perform Comedy Magic, and The Silent Treatment
was designed for a performer who can ham it up
(and trust me on this, but Mr Allen can ham it
up with the best of them). I can see this one
effect being the new "Folding Bandana" and
suspect that by next year it will be performed
by just about every magician living. To see Jon
Allen perform it himself, live, is always going
to always be a high spot for me.
The rest of his close-up act was also no
disappointment. He successfully spiced up an
otherwise standard matrix effect with nothing
else but a red nose. A simple idea, but one that
worked, and he ended with his amazing pet duck
that highlighs the fact that we should be
scouring the toyshops for our magic ideas and
not the magic shops.
So we know Scott can do mentalism, and we know
he can do escapology, but the question is, can
he do close-up? The answer is of course yes. Not
surprising really with all the residencies he
has had. Scott Creasey is a natural born
performer and it should have been no surprise
really that armed with a deck of cards he is
going to be entertaining.
Rob who I hear you ask? Although Rob Cope has
only been doing magic for a few years, you would
in fact never have known that from his
performance. He was actually one of the surprise
acts of the day, and had everyone at the table
in absolute tears of laughter. It could never be
said that Rob is the quiet type, and opening
with the three shell game suited his loud (very
loud) cheeky chappie cockney persona perfectly.
For all his loudness though, Rob Cope is a very
humble performer who for some reason never
thinks he is good enough and it always takes
ages to persuade him to do anything. Hopefully
with the reactions he got on the day, he will
know acknowledge with absolutely no uncertainty
that he is in fact a very gifted and very
Daren is another of the Ipswich Magical
Societies home grown performers who (due to
unforeseen circumstances) was only asked to
perform on the day of the convention itself.
Luckily for him he had a few coins and a deck of
cards, and together with a borrowed set of nuts
and bolts, he proved himself a true professional
by quickly putting together a very skilful and
very entertaining close-up performance.
Watching performers like Daren mike me proud to
be assiociated with the Ipswich Magical Society.
This year the Ipswich Magical Society put on one
of the best live magic shows I have ever seen.
This was certainly no amateur night and frankly
any one of the acts would have been at home live
at the London Palladium. In fact the whole show
would have made a great TV special and if had
been videoed would have sold by the shipload.
Professional Comedian and Magician Richard
Whymark has compered the show for a number of
years now, and after watching him it is no
wonder that he is asked back every year.
He filled the in between moments perfectly, with
his own zany style of comedy that had everyone
in stitches of laughter.
I know I have said it many times before, in fact
so many times that by now there will be some
that think I want to have his balloon babies.
However, for me Matt Edwards still remains one
of the funniest guys in magic around at the
moment, and judging by the raucous laughter that
accompanied him throughout his act I am not
alone in this. Matt is very quick witted, funny
and an extremely talented magician to boot. Why
he hasn't yet got his own TV show I just don't
One of the things that strikes me most about
Matt's performances is his ability to make the
audience his own. There are some artists that
have a good rapport with their audience but Matt
always seems to be able to go one better than
that and at times you feel that he is performing
just for you.
I am very proud of the fact that Matt is a
member of the Ipswich Magical Society, and no
matter how many times I see him perform, you
always know you are going to be in for a very
When Scott Creasey walked out on stage, everyone
was reduced to an uncomfortable silence as it
appeared that he was struck down with an
unfortunate coughing fit. This silence soon
become stunned amazement and quickly rapturous
applause when in the act of removing his jacket
he magically produced a full glass of water from
Scott proved that he was comfortable performing
in any situation whether it's a lecture,
close-up or on stage in front of hundreds of
He ended his act with straight-jacket escape
made even more entertaining by his choice of
Matt Edwards to help tighten the straps. There
can be no doubt in anyones mind that Matt was
doing his damnedest to make sure all the straps
were as tight as possible, and even having seen
Scott's lecture during the day, I had to wonder
how long it would take him to escape, if in fact
he was going to escape at all. To be honest, I
wasn't sure how well a straight-jacket escape
would go down at the convention, but judging by
the reaction of my little nephew, it was one of
the most talked about points of the entire
There can be no doubt whatsoever that Karl
Jeffery is a very talented young ventriloquist.
It's not a matter of never seeing his lips move,
as frankly you are so affected by what he and
his friends have to say that you never look.
At one point he had Willie Mischief sitting with
his back to the audience in the designated
"Naughty Boy Chair", and Bebe, the shy, humble
Hippo at his side on stage. The three of them
were having such a quick fire conversation that
you can only assume his puppets are actually
alive. Certainly my niece abd nephew did.
Doesn't anyone else find ventriloquist's scary
In my opinion every live gala magic show should
have one magician like Scott Penrose. Actually
no. Let me clarify that. Every live gala show
should have Scott Penrose. If I had my way, I
would ask him to come back and perform every
I seriously doubt that there is anyone else who
can perform "classic" magic as well as Scott
Penrose. It was beautiful to watch and so
wonderfully choreographed that it actually left
Everything Scott did, he did with an elegance
and perfection that is only achievable by years
of practice. This was an act that could be
appreciated by magicians and muggles alike. His
entire act served to highlight the main point he
made during his lecture, that is to say "Make
your magic more magical".
Jon Allen is Jon Allen is Jon Allen. Need I say
more? Certainly anyone who has seen him perform
will know exactly what I mean.
Previously I was a big fan of his effects. Now I
am a bigger fan of his performances. His stage
routine wasn't anything too spectacular from a
magical perspective, but his stage persona was,
which just goes to prove how much of what we do
is about entertainment.
I can't quite put my finger on it as to what
exactly it is that makes Jon Allen a cut above
the rest, but he definitely does have that
little something extra. To see him perform live,
whether it is close-up or on stage is a joy that
I will indulge in whenever I get the
opportunity. I strongly suggest everyone else
does the same.
After watching his act, I am confident that Jon
Allen could have merely walked out on stage
without saying a word, and still have had the
whole audience in fits of laughter. His facial
expressions speak volumes, and the subtleties
that he adds to each effect not just make the
effect his own (something we should all do), but
genuinely add something that takes it to a new
level. His bottle production from a balloon was
a prime example. Just producing the bottle
wasn't enough for Jon, he added a comedy skit at
the end that was absolutely priceless.
I don't know where to start writing about
Michael Pearse. He was very much the surprise
hit of the convention, and is the one person
absolutely everybody was talking about
All I knew about Michael Pearse before his act
was that he was a comedy Juggler. Seven years
ago he was voted the most promising newcomer.
Not a bad achievement seeing as he was 65 at the
time, but believe me, he is far more than that.
From the moment he first went out on stage he
had the entire audience eating out of his hand,
and absolutely crying with laughter.
His act consisted of juggling various items to a
volley of quick fire jokes that never ceased
from start to finish. I was laughing so much
that I doubt I actually heard more than one in
three jokes and would gladly pay to see him
perform over and over again.
As always the show ended with an illusionist act
and it's easy to see why Steve Kovarez heads up
one of the countries leading acts in that
particular field. His routine consisted of three
illusions and some filler magic that was
actually nice to see as it proved that not all
illusionists are just front men for the lovely
assistant that deep down we all know do all the
The first illusion I found especially puzzling.
His lovely assistant was locked inside what I
initially thought was going to be a substitution
trunk. That idea was quickly dismissed though,
as he proceeded to push through (from various
angles) numerous swords. This by itself looked
quite spectacular, especially as throughout the
whole time his assistant's hand was clearly seen
poking out of a hole at the front of the trunk.
The real surprise came when the front of the
trunk was dramatically opened and it could be
clearly seen that the lovely lady had vanished,
and all that could be seen in the otherwise
empty trunk were the blades of the sword, and
what I can only assume was a red garter.
All in all the entire act was nicely acted out
and was a great ending to a truly very magical
As you can tell I loved every minute of the
entire day. The only single thing that I could
possibly complain about was that in their
infinite wisdom, the local council decided to
choose the same day dig up the road the led to
the convention centre, causing many people
problems in actually finding their way in.
Having said that, I should add, that by all
accounts, the workers themselves were more than
helpful in giving people directions.
To summarise though, The Ipswich Magical
Society's 18th One-Day convention was a truly
Magical day from beginning to end, and in my
opinion they deserve their mantle of being known
as "The Friendly One".
Reviewed by Simon Shaw