Each year during the MMF, two special gala shows are presented: The Stage Magic Gala and The Close Up Magic Gala. A lovely friend and I dressed in our Hogwarts colours (myself in my Slytherin robes and my sweet friend in her Gryffindor outfit) and we shuffled into Studio 2 for the show. The Close Up Magic Gala is split between Studios 1 and 2, whereby the performers switch theatres during interval – quite a clever arrangement I think!
Whilst there are too many performers to mention here (many with shows that have just run or about to run during the festival) I can assure you that most of the magic happened on a table, with an overhead screen positioned for those sitting up the back of the theatre. Various assistants were chosen from the audience (many of them children) which added to the communal atmosphere and excitement levels of the crowd. If you were thinking that a close up magic show would be all about cards / card magic, you’d be wrong – this show featured magic fleas, puppets, shell games, martini shakers (Lucy!!), predictions and even some mentalism. With time running out towards the end of the show, performers were running at a feverish pace to entertain the audience and have their sets finish on time.
Personal highlights for me were a special guest appearance from Lucy Darling and her wonderfully alluring martini shaker routine, made even more challenging / entertaining by having a child from the audience insist on being her volunteer. Given that children are generally unaware of the existence / purpose of martini shakers, bursts of hilarity ensued however Lucy remained patient and graceful throughout. Another highlight was a mentalism game with the audience which featured an inflatable object being batted around the audience. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be noteworthy, however the nature of the object itself coupled with the instance of all the children in the audience to grab the object when it neared them rendered me crying with laughter into the sleeve of my robes. Oh the hilarity indeed! By the end of that routine, the entire audience was laughing and everyone was caught up in a frenzy of magic proportions.
I have it on good authority that the gala shows are memorable each year, so given the events of this evening I’m keen to attend this gala again next year and would not hesitate to recommend attendance to others.
Note: I attended this event as a guest of the MMF.