Conjuring up another winner

Blackpool Magic Convention Winter Gardens Jonathan Hawley
Blackpool Magic Convention Winter Gardens Jonathan Hawley
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The world’s largest magic convention conjured up more than 3,500 magicians plus their families and friends – and made one comedian vanish.

Whilst the Winter Gardens hosted sales, showcases, lectures and auctions for magicians and magic followers from around the world, the Opera House was packed for six rounds of the first ever FISM European Championships of magic followed by the Federation Internationale des Societies Magiques’ All Winners Show on Saturday night and the 59th International Gala Show on Sunday.

FISM’s event meant some the annual convention’s usual events being put on ice for a year but saw around 70 competitors from all over Europe battle it out in a variety of magic categories.

Among the highlights was France’s Yann Frisch who scooped the Micro Magic title as well being voted the most innovative performer and also claim the Ken Dodd Comedy Award on the Sunday for a delightfully zany mime-based act.

Suspended video screens helped the audience follow the card magic of Finland’s Miika Pelkomen and Italy’s Vittoriio Belloni.

France’s Cubic Act also impressed with their spin on levitation and the UK High Jinx showed promise with their energetic routine.

Unfortunately comedy compere George King failed to find the same kind of success with a terribly dated set seemingly aimed at upsetting as many people as possible. Slow hand claps and heckles saw him vanish faster than a magician’s assistant on skates.

No such problems on Sunday for the Fylde coast’s Clive Webb and Danny Adams whose Circus Hilarious interludes proved just what the international audience wanted.

Highspots of that night were the big scale illusions of the UK’s Jonathan Hawley & Co (pictured) , American Michael Finney’s droll hour and “mentalist” card skills, the novelty role switching of Ukraine’s Ray Gardner and James, Jimmy Tamley’s ventriloquism act and the introduction of powerful vocals from Victor Michael plus a colourful all singing, all dancing finale.

Blackpool’s nonegarian magician Mark Raffles received the Neville King Award for a Speciality Act with Arthur Casson and Roy Johnson receiving the Murray Awards for their services to magic.