The Magic of the UK
The Magic of the UK
Cardini and P.C. Sorcar live on
When it comes to magicians, the mind tends to go directly to Harry Houdini or to modern American icons such as David Copperfield, David Blaine, or Chris Angel. Yet, as good as these magicians are, they would be non-existent without the foundation of some of Britain’s finest magicians. From London magicians to magician Hampshire, the UK has housed some of history’s top illusionists. It is from these magicians that we have learned to push the boundaries, to expound upon the unknown, and to believe in the wonder and mystery of “magic”.
If you have performed a card trick, then you may be practicing some of the card manipulation tricks of Richard Valentine Pitchford. His stage name, Cardini, is well suited for this master of card manipulation. His slide of hand and precision in pulling off great illusions earned him the title “greatest exponent of pure sleight of hand the world has ever known” from the New England Magic Society. He was also given the prestigious position of President of the Society of American Magicians three times.
Perhaps the most popular of the tricks performed by Cardini still in practice today would be the Cardini Change. In this trick the top card literally changes before one’s eyeees. The slide technique which he used is one of the foundational principals for card tricks used today. Of course, I will not reveal how his is done. The mystery is ½ of the fun.
In the 1950s the magician P.C Sorcar, a British-Indian magician gained world fame for his sawing a woman in half routine. The performance was done live, and while the magicians and the assistance knew the outcome of the lady, the people at home did not. This resulted in numerous phone calls to the network to inquire of her fate. The show went off air before the audience knew the fate of the woman. You have to remember that this was back before the time of special effects, before this trick was done before. For all anyone knew, the lady was a corpse.
Today, the saw the lady in half routine is common in major magician’s performances. Whether you are a magician American or a Magician Hampshire, the odds are that you have performed or at least seen the trick performed at one part or another. However when the original trick was performed, it was revolutionary.
The transition from the stage to the street
Magicians are not street performers, although they may choose to perform in live public areas. The roots of a magician’s craft are in stage and in the arts. Granted Magicians such as Kalanag, Voltaire, Jimmy Rogers, and the Great Lafayette will always have a place in magic history, the new magicians are carving out there places as well. And while the modern magician may not have a theatre in which they perform, does not make them any less intriguing. The “street” magic is just a term used to identify the magic as being spontaneous and without props and gimmick. These close up magic tricks require a high level of the craft, as the audience is more apt to be looking for the slide of hand, the curtain, or the reveal. Because of Magicians who can effectively pull off live spontaneous tricks and illusions, the interest in magic and illusions has increased over the past few years. It will be interesting to see to what levels the close up artist and the street illusionist push the boundaries of the mind.
Magic in the UK today
While the magicians of the past are definitively something to understand and to take not of, the magicians of today are so as well. They are not merely repeating the tricks which were laid down by the greats, but inventing new ways of performing magic and illusions. Magicians in the UK are still working to press the boundaries whether that is in a street performance with card tricks or in a stage performance where a woman may be sawed in half only to get up and walk off stage at the end of the performance. And while in times past magicians were primarily a stage performance and audience participation was limited, today’s modern magicians thrive on the interactions between their audience and the tricks being performed. Once such magician who is an expert in illusions is Robert Fox. Building off of the foundations laid by the great magicians of the past, Robert Fox does illusions, mind reading, stage performance, close-up magic, and more. His premise for his performances is to inspire awe and wonder while at the same time bringing the audience enjoyment.
Robert Fox is the top magician Hampshire has available for both large and small audiences.