First up was Will Gray, who started with a new take on sleeving by tearing his off in dramatic fashion. Following with the first ambitious card effect of the evening he concluded with a humorous fishy card prediction effect producing a vase containing the predicted gold fish from his jacket.
Next on was John Danbury, starting with a chosen card appearing in a blank deck leading into the first appearance of a Jerry, the wallet not the man! John finished with a goblet and wine cork chop cup routine with final loads of a lemon, bag of money and a wine bottle production.
Martin Cox worked a number of amusing gags old and new into his act including a miniature nun. He featured a sandwich routine finding the spectator’s card several times between other cards in the deck. He ended with a cup and balls routine producing an onion a lemon and, proving his quick thinking, his own watch, as the spectator inconveniently didn’t have one!
Andrew Murray commenced with mind reading 3 spectators chosen cards. Following with a rope and ring and concluding with a 4 card effect with cards changing, jumping to his pockets and back. As a past winner, Andrew didn't disappoint with this very strong performance, recognised by the judges with 3rd place.
Ivor Cole opened with "alcoholic's unanimous" a refilling glass effect. He then squared the circle with a spectator's chosen signed card changing having a printed circle to a square. Finally in a reminder of the dangers of walking through Euston, Ivor explained how muggers had unsuccessfully relived him of his watch, mobile, cash a credit card.
Matthew Wright told how he originated from Pendle, famous for its witches. The story was the accompaniment to a very polished torn card restoration. He then went on to explain his beginnings in magic with a "3 fly effect", culminating in a slow motion transfer of one coin to his other hand. Matthew completed his act with a traditional cups and balls routine playing tribute through some well timed in-jokes about Dai Vernon, Paul Daniels and Michael Ammar. Matthew's skilful and original act was rewarded with first place, the right choice according to comments overheard from several of the audience.
Carl Charlesworth kicked off with a silent routine set to opera music, where 3 previously borrowed rings were wrapped in tissue and made to disappear and eventually reappear in a glasses case. We were then treated to another cups and balls routine, this time with steel balls with final 3 loads of 3 eggs, with the 3 kings appearing in a Fabergé type egg. Well I am assuming it wasn’t a real Fabergé or maybe Clive is better connected than his is letting on?
Bob Swadling showed us how to cheat at Poker, with two cards turning into a royal flush one at a time, with the ace transforming in mid air. After a coin to bottle routine Bob completed his acts with some nice card work culminating in a card stab, where a complete deck disappeared in a flash leaving a final signed card impaled on the knife. Bob's original and entertaining act was rewarded with second place. In addition he won the originality award, a fitting tribute to his skills as an inventor and the fact that all the effects shown were his own inventions.
James Fortune in his typical self depreciating way explained how he was simply going to show some effects he had learnt backstage from the other competitors. He went on to show us Cut and restored rope, coin and card matrix and ambitious card culminating in card to wallet (Jerry's again). Nothing new maybe, but really appreciated by the audience and all presented in a very entertaining way.
Tony Steward started with a gag as he produced a large wooden pole from a small bag. He then did a prediction effect with two spectators mixing the cards up, with a single predicted card being the only even card in the predicted number of ‘face up’ odd cards. This led into an impressive card to ceiling effect and culminating in a selected card to clear plastic bag.
Michael Fairall started with a four ace trick which finished with the signed card in…you guessed it a wallet (no more free advertising) After some mentalism, Michael amused the audience with his balloon modelling act, with the balloon continuing to squeek when deflated and finishing with an mouth full of table tennis balls.
Last up was Clive Hyams opening with a very accomplished four ace routine leading onto some cutlery bending and closing with his spectators two signed cards ending up on two sides of a double faced card.
Richard Pinner presided over the night and kept the audience amused as the performance area was reset between acts. Thanks to Scott Penrose and team for organising another successful competition.
1st - Matthew Wright
2nd - Bob Swadling
3rd - Andrew Murray
The originality award was presented to Bob Swadling.