What Tricks Should You Perform

An unusual aspect of restaurant magic is that you might have to stop performing at anytime if the diners table is ready, their food arrives, and so on. This means all tricks need to be quite short. Also, because you are not invited by guests to perform (you are approaching them), your routines need to be fun, pleasant, and presented in a positive, uplifting manner. You want (and need) the audience to like you as quickly as possible, as a friendly character.

We recommend grouping tricks into sets of three, as your mini 'routine.' You then have a beginning, middle and end trick which as a whole do not take up much time. Obviously you will need a number of these 'sets' of three to add variety to your performance.

The first and last trick should be powerful and memorable for obvious reasons, and the middle one should ideally be lots of fun, with audience participation too.

In 'The Complete Guide to Restaurant and Walk-Around Magic', author Kirk Charles gives a definitive list of the qualities necessary for a suitable trick in this environment:


Simple and direct




Easy to carry


Durable or inexpensive to replace


Automatic or quick to reset


Angle proof


Workable on any surface or with no surface


Highly visible





This list is an excellent guide to consider carefully. You don't have to stick to it rigidly but it does highlight important potential areas of difficulty that you might not have thought about.

Let's consider a few of these points. Point five says that the tricks should be automatic or quick to reset. This is important because you will often need to walk directly from table to table to perform. Nipping off to a back room to reset a trick you just finished is not acceptable, it's not very magical!

Point six mentions angles. These are the angles that the audience views the trick from. In a restaurant you don't have any control over angles, and even if the guests at the table you are performing to cannot see a 'hidden' device or move, someone on the next table you are about to perform to may well spot it!

Point nine highlights the need for tricks to be examinable. Working so close to the audience, you will get the odd person who wants to examine an item. Bear in mind that most people will not have seen magic close up before, and might be tempted to throw a spanner in the works. Be prepared! If you are using a trick deck of cards for example, place a regular deck in your pocket ready to switch if someone asks to examine the deck.

Incidentally, if you are serious about restaurant magic, I highly recommend you get a copy of Kirks book: 'The complete guide to restaurant magic.' I've not met Kirk personally but this book realIy is the complete guide. It's widely acclaimed as the best book on the subject, and it covers in depth aspects such as publicity, setting fees, selecting tricks, approaching people, dealing with hecklers, and much more. It is about 250 pages long, with a hard cover, and your small investment to learn the details will be repaid thousands of times over.

Please see the leaflet accompanying this module for details of how to order a copy if it is currently available.

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