WOW! South Tyneside International Magic Festival – Family Magic Extravaganza, has to be my longest title ever. Yet this is exactly what it said on the posters and flyers.
Since I was about 7 years old I have been fascinated by magic. I can’t say it was because I got a Paul Daniels Magic Set, or because I help a magician on Holiday. My in road to magic was slightly different. My Dad used to be a member of the Magic Circle when he was young. He also used to tell stories, but I think this was true. I can remember him teaching me little party tricks, snapping match sticks in a hanky for them to be restored. Simple card tricks involving a story about some bank robbers and four jacks. Then there was also the Covent Garden magic stall, that we spend ages of time and lots of money at.
I wish I had photographs of my big magic show that we put on for neighbours when I was 12. The shows big finale involved burning up a written celebrities name. Stuffing the ashes into an air rifle. Shooting it across our neighbours living room towards an envelope to reveal the chosen celebrity in picture form. I was too young to hoover up, but using a gun was fine.
About 15 years later I then became the guy that would bore his mates with tricks in the pub. The first time I got my flaming wallet out in a crowded pub was hilarious, but the 19th time started to bore!
South Tyneside International Magic Festival
The now annual South Tyneside International Magic Festival takes over the Customs House for three days. During the day there are master classes, lectures and a Dealers marketplace. At night time there are 3 evening Gala Shows. However the Thursday night is focused on Family Entertainment and starts a little earlier. Tickets are only £8 and we managed to get second row seats. I think I was more excited than the kids… but that is usual.
Family Magic Extravaganza at the Customs House
I raced home from work, quickly changed, threw the kids in the the car and set off to cross the river. The show started at 6:30pm, so I didn’t have much time to waste. Just as we hit the A19 I realised we needed petrol. Which is also the moment I realised that my Wallet was in my work jeans on the bedroom floor. But to get petrol before the show would be too tight, so hopefully there would be enough to get us there.
We made it with 12 miles left in the tank. Imogen was relieved and I found an emergency tenner in my pocket. So we had some fuel money.
The sun was setting and the view towards North Shields was amazing.
In the foyer to the Customs House, Magicbox had set up a pop up Magic Stall selling pocket money tricks. They had loads of interest and quite a crowd building up, but I felt so bad saying “No!” to my kids. Abigail wanted something, Imogen wanted something else. I wanted a cup of diesel to get us home afterwards!
Customs House Family Magic Line up
The night was compered by Kendrick. He has been performing magic for years now. By total coincidence, he was performing magic around the tables at our wedding evening do. Kendrick linked the acts together while the curtain closed to change the prop set ups.
First act was Simon Hannah, A Children’s entertainer from Halifax. He was brilliant and really got the kids excited. Simon called for a helper and our two hid as low as they could. His routine involved a magical Sweetie safe, a Balloon sculpture of a Poodle that had eaten a meat ball. Magic to me a a complicated puzzle, that I need to try and work out. I’m not 100% sure how he did it, but the Balloon was twisted until a little round balloon dropped inside the normal long modelling balloon. It was very clever.
Graeme Shaw performed a sawing the lady illusion, but with a twist. This time the boxes that were put over the lady we clear acrylic. Even at a 2nd row seat, I sat there wondering how it was done. Surely with a keen interest in magic I would spot the trick. Nope! Not at all. In a way because it did baffle me I really don’t want to know how it is done.
After the interval, Tony Junior took over the stage with a race challenge still game. That involved 4 volunteers skiing across the stage and the audience cheering for the predicted winner. Imogen and Abigail had seen Tony junior several times before, but this routine was new to them. The energy thrown in this was amazing.
Last up was Destiny (Leah Mae and Sara Jade). A stage illusion act that used the full stage with several fast hitting illusions. From a rapid escape / changing place routine, to grabbing flowers out of thin air routine ending with a final crowd pleasing eruption of confetti from a soggy tissue in a cup of water. OK the illusions were a lot more impressive that I’ve explained, but I believe generally Magic needs to be seen to full understand it.
Also worth mentioning Leah Mae is the youngest member of The Magic Circle, and both girls won The Magic Circles Young Magician of the Year (first ever girls!)
As we were leaving the customs House, we Spotted Graeme in the foyer. So asked if we could have a quick photo. We told him how much we really loved the show and how his illusion was amazing.
Graeme asked our girls who their favourite magician was form the show.
Graeme: “Was it Me? Was it Me? It was Me! Wasn’t it?”
Imogen and Abigail became shy and said nothing…. Until the drive home.
Abigail: My favourite was the Sawing the lady in half
Imogen: You should have told Graeme
Abigail: No! Not him, the Lady that was on the table was my favourite!
We had an excellent night and the tickets were very reasonably priced. Remember to keep an eye out for the Magic Festival next year when it is announced. Also if you were looking for less balloon animals, there was two Gala shows on the following two nights that had amazing line ups too.