It was Sunday 28th, June that the Cambridge Pentacle Club held their Midsummer Convention. Roy Gilbert, Dara Kaka and their many helpers are to be congratulated on an excellent day, which to an outsider, appeared well organised and smooth running.
Obviously Pabular, being a specialist magazine, only reports those events of particular interest to close-up enthusiasts. For this reason, no mention can be made of how good Billy McComb was, or what a sterling job Len Blease did as compere. Neither are we permitted to review the acts of Klingsor, Colinski and Flame, and San Yen. The comedy of Terry Burgess and Alan Merril will have to be ignored, as will Julie Llusion and Dennis and Jean Collins. All of which is a pity. The excellent lectures of Richard Stupple and Klingsor will have to go by without even a mention.
Perhaps we can sneak in a mention of Billy McComb though. Although working on the stage a good ninety percent of what he does is really close-up magic. The coin in bottle, the gipsy thread, the linking finger rings. Even the larger things — the egg bag with a shot glass afid the sucker silks can be done close-up. When he comes on, everything he needs is in his pockets and when he goes off nothing is left behind. I suspect that he can work completely surrounded and to any audience from two upwards to many hundreds without changing a thing. Angles are not important not is distance. This must be the ultimate in modern commercial performing. By the way, I forgot to mention that he is entertaining as well — still I expect most Pabular readers will know that already!
Now to the close-up proper. There were two sessions with three artistes taking part. Each performer worked once, to an audience of about sixty people. Once I got into trouble for saying about a show that the audience were in tiers, but I expect that you know what I mean.
The first performer was Mark Leveridge from Bristol. His magic is fairly lightweight but extremely well presented. He has the knack of winning an audience over, in a deceptively effortless way. His presentation is clean cut and has that all important clarity, both of diction and movement that ensure that every effect obtains the maximum impact. Working mostly with cards and ropes and rings he scored well and retired to good applause.
Vic Allen, the madman from Clacton came on next, working with only a pack of cards and doing exactly what he would do for laymen in a commercial show. Vic's personality and approach are the show. What he does hardly matters. He had the audience laughing heartily and retired to loud applause.
Finally came Roger Crosthwaite, another crazy performer. Wearing his dog collar and the sort of hat that only vicars seem able to find, he very quickly subjected the audience to the full force of the Crosthwaite treatment. Balloons had to be kissed, a false moustache is donned for some reason or other. Oranges and boots are hurled at the audience and salt is poured over everyone and everything. In the end, he turns himself into a bishop and one wonders why he stops short at sprouting wings and a halo and producing a harp! Along the way though, we do see some immaculate card handling, including the Think-a-Card, Card to Case loading move and the use of the Hung Card Servant all described in the "Commercial Card Magic of Roger Crosthwaite". The audience loved it and it made a fitting close to the show.
SANDWICH ESCAPE' Arthur setterington
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