Ipswich Magical Society: An Audience with Paul Daniels 25th Sept 2005
On Sunday 25th September, the Halstead "Empire" Theatre hosted an Audience with Paul Daniels, and to say that it was a very special evening would be a complete understatement.

This wasn't the first time that I had seen Paul Daniels perform live. The first time was way back in the 1980's, but I still believe that he is hard to beat as an entertainer.

As a member of the Ipswich Magical Society I have been privileged to have seen many great lectures over the years, however I would argue that I learnt more about the art of performing magic from this one show than I ever could from a life time of lectures. Lectures are great, don't get me wrong, but for me watching a great performer at work (and make no mistakes, Paul Daniels IS a great performer) you get a real lesson in the most important aspect of performing magic. A lesson in how to be entertaining.

The first half of the show was primarily a question and answer session which it has to be said, I found thoroughly absorbing, as Paul Daniels is obviously a very accomplished, not to mention extremely witty after dinner speaker. The audience quickly warmed to the man, and it made us all feel we were part of a small intimate group of friends rather than being in a medium sized theatre.

Although most of the magic took place after the interval, Paul did perform a few bits and pieces in the first half. It was interesting to not though, that all the magic he did had been "Danielised" to make them his very own. As an eager and relatively new magician it was great watching classics like "The professor's Nightmare", or "6 card repeat", and seeing how Paul skilfully adapted them to suit his own style. A valuable lesson to be learnt in making sure that whatever effect you perform, you should ALWAYS work it and rework it, until it is your very own, and suits the way that you perform.

In the second half, the focus was much more on the magic, and the little man from up north did not disappoint. We saw some of the effects that have made Paul such a huge name in magic. Effects like his now famous, super fast, speedy-gonzalas, comedy style chop cup routine. Actually for me, watching Paul perform that one effect with an ease and confidence that only comes with many years of practice and performance would have made the whole evening worthwhile.

At one point, he even acknowledged the magicians in the audience with a behind the back classic force. I couldn't be sure, but I reckon he had a sly little smirk on his face after that, and after all why not. I think I would have been smirking too.

For me though, the routine I wanted to see most, the one effect that many would say defines Paul Daniels, is of course his Electric Chairs/Paper Balls over the head routine.

Putting the entertainment value from this routine aside for one moment (and judging by the laughter on the night, the entertainment value hasn't diminished one iota since he I first saw him do it on the "wheeltapper and shunters" back in the 1970's), but all that aside, it I still personally find the thinking behind putting these two effects together as being pure genius.

There is a certain irony to it all that is somehow pleasing on a much higher level than is normally seen by non-magicians. I am not sure if this was Paul's idea or not, but whoever first came up with it deserves an award.

So the bottom line is that Paul still has what it takes, and thoroughly deserves the mantle of being known as one of the top magicians in the world today. Not only that there was a brief guest appearance from his lovely assistant Debbie McGee, and it doesn't get better than that!

Marc Jacobs, Daren Morgan, Paul Daniels, Simon Shaw, Duane 'Electric Chairs' Tucker

Reviewed by Simon Shaw, photo's by Frankie Shaw