A Nice Evening’s Entertainment
Bruce Glen The Gentleman Magician
Royal Automobile Club every Friday at 7.33 pm
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
As a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, it’s always interesting to look at executions of time-honoured illusions. It’s like hearing a joke or watching Hamlet; you’ve heard or seen it a hundred times, but the interpretation is the element that provides interest.
In the perfect setting for his style of show, Bruce Glen, The Gentleman Magician is presenting his latest show, Magical Soirées at the Royal Automobile Club. The format is parlour magic, with just seventy spectators/participants at each show. This is an intimate, private setting, so don’t expect disappearing and reappearing elephants or explosions.
The media release states that Glen is a member of The Magic Circle, whose membership includes the top echelon of magicians in the world, so expectations were set high.
The opening is the Three Rope Trick, an ever-popular family favourite in which three pieces of rope are shown to be of different lengths, then the same lengths, then of different lengths. The ropes are then thrown into the audience for full examination. The consummate ease with which Glen performs it gives an indication of the rest of the show.
The classic Chop Cup routine was used by flimflam artists to extract money from gullible punters in bars and on the street. Watch carefully. Is the ball under the cup or not? Glen effortlessly performs the more complex version that involves other objects.
There are two inevitable cards tricks in this show. “Yes, that was my card. Well done. Good for you.” Let’s move on.
In the Book Test, an audience member randomly selects a page from a book and writes down three words in the top line. The magician then announces the page and the words. When Glen started, I thought, “Oh, he’s doing the easy version”, but then he adds the twist at the end, which enhances the whole effect.
Other routines are the Magic Square, the Spirit Slates, The Medallion and The Ghost Touch, and all are performed exquisitely. Glen pays homage to the greats of the past. Houdini’s Unbreakable Bond consists of two handkerchieves being tied tightly together, then falling apart seeming of their own will.
The nice aspect of Glen’s presentation is that he is not at all “magiciany”. So many magicians use the same clichéd patter; “Pick a card, any card…”, “Have we ever met before?”, “I snap my fingers…”, “Blow on my hand…”, “I say the magic words…”, “I wave my hand…”, “Prepare to be amazed…”, “For my next trick…”, “I sprinkle the magic dust…”. Some suck air through their closed teeth, shut their eyes and furrow their brows as if they’re focusing hard to pick up the vibe. Glen does none of this.
Instead, he tells stories around his effects to engage the audience and informs us that some of the finest writers such as Charles Dickens, Orson Welles and Lewis Carroll were also magicians. The best story tellers are magicians and vice-versa.
Magical Soirées really is a pleasant evening, so be prepared to be entertained, fascinated and charmed.