President: Stuart Harley Chairman: Matt Parro
Secretary: Justin Price Treasurer: Kevin Peel
Newsletter: 23May 2008

Close-Up Competition, May 22nd 2008

Seven contestants battled it out at the Sussex Magic Circle Close-Up Competition.

Here follows an overview of their performances: Apologies in advance if I have missed out any of the many and different effects performed.

The night commenced with an audition from Marcus Lewis one of the "smoke and mirrors" team. Very strong card magic being an excellent opener to the evening.

1) Ross (Rooster) Robertson: A very direct book test-I chose a random word, Ross told me what it was. No probing for clues, no cards or dice used to choose the page, very clean. A slick pen through note. A linking ring routine with three key rings that was flawless. The rings were examinable before and after. It was simply impossible to see how this was done. An elastic band routine involving a spectator-the "crazy manís handcuffs", again executed to perfection-this is clearly a standard in Rossís repertoire. A high level of sleight of hand skill from one of the clubís accomplished performers.

2) Leon Simmonds commenced with a dynamic coins routine with a relaxed patter story. A coin routine that involved appearances, transpositions and a giant coin production. Very polished-excellent misdirection. A card discovery that used a one hand shift and card spin out was performed in a confident manner. Leon finished his act with a chop cup routine-rubber ball production followed by a lemon.

3) Sue Leacy: Sue commenced her act with a sponge ball routine that she regularly performs. Good timing and experience shone through. A mentalism routine followed with Flavia divining a thought of film from a choice of 100. Flavia being Sueís puppet assistant, complete with American accent-quirky, unusual and baffling. A book test joke which was over the heads of most people was followed by a card revelation. Sue sought assistance for this effect from Stanley, her pet dog, who barked the card identity down her mobile phone. Very funny. Sueís final, very theatrical effect with a Phantom of the Opera theme, complete with musical accompaniment involved a miniature rose production, a music scroll production and a Phantom Mask production.

4) John Holden was an instant hit with his character Frenchman act. False moustache, stripy jumper and a French greeting were responded to by the French speakers in the audience. A colour changing deck routine was followed by colour changing CDs. Johnís final effect was a multiple silk production from a metal cabinet. The strongest part of Johnís act was the rapport he has with his audience. Winning over an audience with your personality, is far more important than the effects you perform. Well done John. Look forward to seeing you perform again.

5) Paul Bromley: Paul performed a a flash money production, a prediction with borrowed objects and a comedy card revelation with an invisible caterpillar. Paul stands out as a gentleman performer. Always smart, well spoken and articulate, he is very bookable.

6) Daniel Edwards performed a thought of card effect which completely floored me. He did, later in the evening, demonstrate how this was done and the method was diabolical. Before this he performed a coin disappearance from underneath a glass tumbler, the coin appearing in his mouth-very David Blaine. Dan finished with a magic square prediction. Dan did very well and we look forward to seeing him perform again.

7) Matt Parro stamped his authority on the evening with a wine bottle production, a coke can from his shoe which fooled me completely a flash card discovery - the chosen card appearing between two cards, and a bullet catch. Yes, you read it right. A bullet catch. As always Matt pushes the boundaries of magic and performance. Spectacular.
The winner of the competition was Leon. Very well deserved with a skilful confident performance. Well done to everyone who performed. An excellent evening.

Paul Leacy

Compiled by: Stuart Harley