THIS SEASON HAS BEEN AN ABSOLUTE BLAST.
I obviously feel very blessed with the amount of parties both private and corporate I have been involved in but what really interests me is the variety I have seen this year.
This Christmas season has really highlighted how vast the audience for magic really is, it shows that MAGIC REALLY IS FOR EVERYONE.
A variety of parties
I have performed this year for small private parties in homes (8-30 people), small dinner gatherings in restaurants (15-45 people) and larger parties in venues (50-700 people). Each has had its own exciting moments and I really do not have a favourite. With smaller gatherings I get to perform more intimate shows engaging with everyone on a much more personal level which really does create some incredible memories we share and I create emotions as well as wonder.
I have performed my PARLOUR SHOW many times this year but for xmas created a very special version which involved many guests, lot’s of fun and ending with a very special gift for one lucky volunteer. My parlour show varies from a 20 minute spot to a full 1 hour, dependent on numbers, budget and the venue – my parlour show really can fit in very well with any requirements.
Some feedback of a recent parlour show – “Steve performed at our company Christmas party (December 2017) and he was excellent. It was very varied and interactive and even the more skeptical got involved! I think he captured everyone’s imagination and made our evening a wonderful experience. Thank you Steve!” Ellie Wakeford
When entertaining larger number, if done correctly it really can be something very very special. When I performed for Nissan at Silverstone (700 people and one of my bigger bookings), I managed to create an unforgettable atmosphere among several tables all at once, the buzz was incredible and the reactions electric. It’s very easy to get this wrong and only after years of trying out various ideas have I now felt comfortable with what could initially be quite a daunting task. To be the entertainer that everyone is waiting for is a big responsibility and I now rise to the occasion perfectly every time, I actually revel in this environment because I know what I can now achieve.
A snippet feedback from Nissan – “The party went smooth and everyone has given such positive feedback. Steve Rowe the magician was fantastic – he was funny, friendly and very entertaining !”
As well as close-up / table / walkaround style magic I also offer a stage show performance, often as a finalé to the evening and has been really popular this year. Perfect for guest numbers around 80 upwards, my stage show is 30 minutes – nothing to heavy or long and entertaining enough to keep people wanting more. I have also offered this as an addition / end to the evening – I perform close-up either mix and mingle or table performance and then finish with my stage show. This way absolutely everyone gets to experience the magic and really is a little different.
Feedback from Toddington U3A – “I just wanted to say how much we all enjoyed your show today, it really was MAGIC. Also, thank you so much for being so accommodating, you certainly gave a wonderful performance and started our Christmas off in the best possible way.” Angela Watts
So…Magic for everyone?
I started this post talking about how magic is so varied and I really have seen that full on this festive season. I have performed for small groups and large groups – in hotels, bars, restaurants, village halls, large scale conference centres…you name it. Also for children and familes, corporates, private parties and even an amazing group of elders whom really knew how to party.
I am so very grateful to each and everyone whom have either booked me or have been part of my audience this year, not only the festive period but throughout the year. I really feel blessed to have these opportunities and absolutely love what I do.
I could start every post about a recent gig with this title really. For now, I wanted to let you all know about a recent booking which was slightly different.
The magic community is built up of around 1,500 Magic Circle members all over the U.K, along with many more who are not, it’s difficult to measure the exact number as there are also many ‘hobbyists’ who love magic, perform for friends but don’t actually go out there and perform for an audience as such. This community is a wonderful place, we all share common interest and passion for magic, we chat online, in person at clubs and conventions, we share ideas and thoughts on magic and it is this that helps grow the art further.
On occasion a booking will come up that just is to large for one magician and so the booker, once decided upon the magician to hire, will entrust that magician to find a suitable team for the event. To give you an idea, one magician can handle up to around 100 guests on their own, for walkaround magic over 2 hours perhaps 150, but certainly for tables more magicians will be required for larger numbers. This firstly ensure that everyone experiences some great magic and also that the performer is at the table for a good amount of time, anything from 5-10 minutes (may not seem a lot but certainly with my style, performing fast and visual magic it really is).
So a recent booking came up, not direct to me but I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of a team to entertain guests at a wonderful event. Now this is where the AMAZING comes in. The venue, which I have performed at before was Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, the room The Great Room (see photos, it’s amazing) and the number of guests around 600. My friend Andy Clockwise contacted me as he thought my style would be perfect for the event and given I had performed at this 5 star hotel before, knew I would make an important part of his team. The team was Andy Clockwise, Me ;), Lee Ferriday, John Bulleid, Lee Bell and Steve White. Looking at that line up, if you have ever seen more than one of us perform, you will understand we are all quite different in the styles we use but we are all fun and entertaining – Andy chose a great team.
So why the PLEASURE, well apart from enjoying what I do every step, this was a particular pleasure given our audience. The event was the Annual Ball for non-other than the The Grand Order of the Water Rats! I know! If, for any reason you are un-aware of the GOWR, please do look them up http://www.gowr.net/ but briefly the Water Rats is an organisation for entertainers around the world and is pretty much a who’s who in the entertainment industry.
Having heard the news of the event I was of course excited but also intrigued as to who would be there. When we arrived we were briefed by Andy on the order of the evening and we were to perform casual stroll-around magic for the drinks reception (which we knew in advance). The drink reception was taking place on the balcony area and so we agreed roughly the sections for each of us to perform. Once guests started to arrive and enjoy their first drink we got to work. ‘Work’ I always laugh internally with that phrase for what I do, because really, it’s not work, it is again a PLEASURE. I must say the guests were all lovely, absolutely lovely. These types of event are always fun, everyone is in a great mood but in particular as most were from the entertainment industry, I got a feeling of enjoyment and respect from them all.
We all weaved our way in and out of group, mingling perfectly and performing mind-blowing magic – the perfect start to an incredible evening. Several people suggested I should myself be on TV (a desire that hasn’t struck me yet) and the focus for me was definitely on having fun yet one comment about one of my effects really struck home. I was performing with a group of 6 people, the finale moment was me carving the shape of Supermans face from a lollypop after one lady described him as her favourite super hero….what she said hit me and made me pause and take the moment in. When I revealed what i had done, the emotions went like this. Gasp, pause, confusion, laughter….she then said “I can’t take it in, I feel all giddy, how on earth have you done that” – now, THAT IS MAGIC!
This is exactly what magic is for me and should be for everyone, it’s more than a puzzle or a moment you can’t explain, it is a feeling. That feeling will stay with you, occasionally you’ll be reminded of the moment and the feeling will come back – for this lady, perhaps now every time she sees or thinks of superman, she will be reminded of what I did with that lollypop, a crazy moment that left her feeling physically giddy.
I hope you liked reading this, I could go on all night long about it to be honest but tune in next time for another blog sometime soon.
So this is about Fifi and others like her. Fifi was special in a number of ways.
Being a busy working magician I get to know an audience and I am able to read their characters quite well on approach. Being able to do that is important as an entertainer and especially as a magician.
I understand that not everyone loves magic the way I do, everyone has different experiences in life which shape what we do like, what we don’t like and what we love.
Being a resident magician on Sunday at Waterlane in Bishops Stortford has really helped me. On a Sunday lunchtime, mostly everyone enjoys and wants to see magic, they come specifically to the restaurant for the entertainment, good food and service. I say mostly, because on occasion, as I approach and introduce myself, some people don’t want to see magic. They may have had a bad day, be in a hurry, they may want to just catch up with an old friend or even sometimes do not actually like magic. They may not like magic because they saw a bad magician in the past or they might be the type of person that does not like the feeling of not knowing how something is done. I’ve learnt all this through experience over the years. Knowing this means I know how to approach people and am also not worried if people do not want to see any magic.
When I approach people, I very rarely tell them I am a magician straight off. I engage a group first, by saying hello, asking how they are etc…I dress smart, i’m polite and friendly and this helps relax people before I announce what I do. It’s at this point 99.9% of the time, people become enthusiastic and giddy at the thought of seeing a magician live and up close.
Sometimes if I have worked a room, i’ll approach a group and one of the group has already seen me or perhaps they have watched from afar and know who I am. It was just this happening as I approached Fifi’s group.
Before I could even get past hello, one of the group announced “this is the magician, he’s amazing”. That in itself is the best introduction any magician could ask for, it’s like having your own announcer on stage before a show, it sets the scene for you and from a credited source like a spectator, is even more powerful.
When that was announced, I noticed this one lady let out a little scream, literally, a bursting with excitement, then trying to hide it scream. I immediately honed in on her and ask her name, giddily she replied ‘Fifi’. I offered my hand to shake and she looked me in the eye direct, smiling and said, ‘hi’.
Asking if she had ever seen a magician before she said ‘no not a real one’. I love these reactions, I then explained I am likely to be the best she has ever seen, obviously tongue in cheek as by default that is true but also announcing to her she was going to see something special.
Being able to perform to someone that excited about magic, that has never seen a magician live is a special moment. I know that if I get this moment right, they will not only have a lasting positive impression of magic and magicians but more importantly, will never, ever forget their first time seeing one, I was blessed to be that person for Fifi.
Her giddy enthusiasm spread through the group, we had fun, laughter, shocked moments, gasps and tears – every possible positive reaction you can imagine came in those 5 or so minutes I shared with the group.
Here’s a little video I caught at the end, you can still see the excitement all over.
Fifi, you are a star, you rock and I love you.