Stuart welcomed everyone along to Southover Grange this evening but unfortunately had to announce that the Southdowns Magicians were unable to join us as they couldn’t muster the acts – I was surprised as many of those who visit Southdowns regularly appeared to be in the audience with us!
After Sussex Magic Circle notices, Stuart explained that the judges this evening would be different from last year in that it would be the Presidents of both the ACES (“Magic” Martin Lewis) and Andy “Evenin’ all” Hart) who would create a judgely huddle and make the decisions. The ACES would perform first in all three of the chosen categories. This year they were Stage, Occultancy (Mentalism to us mere mortals) and Close-up.
So it was onto the performances and with much banner waving from the many ACES members who had come along to support the evening, it was John Holden up first with his personna of “Pierre” joining us. John came along to ACES a couple of years ago as a hobbyist who had only performed in front of his grandchildren and now has the ability (and some may say talent!) to make everyone laugh and do some lovely effects. Indeed at the recent Tony Richards Memorial Trophy with the ACES he won on only his first attempt at participating. With colour changing silks to parasols, to silks to bouquet and silk to rose, Pierre bought us the story of Aunty Jessy and playing poker, Gordon helped with the silk to balloon effect and John finished off with card manipulations to a rousing cheer from his fellow members!
Andrew Jeffrey had to make a statement to follow John and in his newly designed unique number suit (glad it wasn’t the birthday one!), he did just that firstly appearing from behind the most blatant marketing poster for his new venture I have ever seen. Leo assisted with pick-a-mix bags which could have led to a prize worth a least £100 but unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Andrew won again having pilfered John Holden’s watch earlier in the proceedings and it being found in the one bag left. At least John got his watch back in one piece, Leo went home with little more than a tea bag for his efforts.
Patrick Edmondson for the ACES then took the stage next with a great mind reading routine being ably helped by Isobel. After much mind bending and soul searching the correct word was eventually transmitted and found to be in a sealed envelope in Patrick’s wallet. A little short but well performed.
Tonight was the first time I had seen Ali perform and for a young performer he was great – should come and visit us at ACES sometime, it would be lovely to have you meet with our Zac (more about him later) – the balloon thought transference device hats were great with helping him find Charlie’s chosen cards over and over again. Dave Pattenden was then encouraged (not that it took too much persuasion) in finding yet more cards from the pack this time without balloon assistance.
After tea, ACES’ own Zac started off a very good routine and everyone had to admit that he looked great in the new sparkly suit. The more Zac performs, the more confident he becomes and at just 16 he is now a full member and no longer the token junior. He started with disappearing dollars with Matt helping, displayed a nice cups and balls routine, a three card effect using 8s and a 10, a card matrix loosing then finding again six coins and finishing off with the appearance of a lost chosen card. Well done Zac, we all (and mum and dad!) were very proud of you tonight. Keep up the good work.
Rosman was last up and after such a long wait for the nice hat, we were treated to tea leaf cards turning up on Paul’s arm, finding four aces in a shuffled deck, two red aces sandwiching a third card and Winston Churchill’s favourite trick. I liked the delivery of this one having seen a different variation before. He continued with a dictionary book test and a coin melting through a pack of cards stopping at the chosen card.
Presidents left the room to discuss the acts and try to agree winners and in true ACES style, Martin announced that the decisions had been very close.
The winners were: Stage - John Holden Occultancy - Ali Ceurvorst And the Close-up was too close to call so was declared a draw!
Winners were congratulated and Martin was delighted to confirm that ACES will be holding the competition next year on Wednesday 11 June. It was also agreed that perhaps a sub-committee with members from all three clubs should be organised so that the competition continues going from strength to strength in the future.
One final point however to note would be that a seven minute timescale is difficult to achieve and members of the ACES had tried really hard to keep to this. Some other participants notedly took much longer than this allotted time so we all must try our best to achieve miracles in the stated performance time allowed.
Our thanks to the Sussex Magic Circle for again hosting this year’s event and we look forward to meeting many of you again at ACES either in 2008 or before.