Masters of Magic Convention Gala Show in Saint Vincent, Italy

It has been more than a month since I last blogged because we have been traveling for work and wifi was not stable enough to write long entries and upload photos without taking hours. So, get ready to be bombarded with a slew of interesting entries on our journeys these past few weeks.

Last month, Ning & I were in the beautiful Saint Vincent as featured artistes in the gala show of the “Masters of Magic” convention. This convention is the biggest magic convention in Italy and based on many convention-goers, lecturers and performers observations, the convention with the most number of world-class star talent, second only to a good FISM. Producer, Walter Rolfo, and his team pulled out all the stops to make this event the “world’s greatest magic convention”. Kudos to them for a fantastic event!

Among the lecturers and performers included Jeff McBride, Uri Geller, Juan Tamariz, Rene Levand, Dani daortiz, Max Maven, Dean Gunnerson, Eric Jones, Asi Wind and the illustrious list goes on.

The main highlight show of the convention was the grand gala that was directed by one of Italy’s top theatrical exports, Arturo Brachetti. He is a world renown theatrical quick change & pantomime artist and has performed across the world. It was an honour to work with him on the show and he was an absolute professional to work with.

Ning & I were thrilled to be the sole Asian representatives on the show and of course to be the first Singapore illusionists to perform in Italy. Ning & I flew in a couple of days before the show but Adeline flew up just two hours before the show because she had a prior close-up magic engagement the night before in Singapore. We were glad she made it in time as she was our critical illusion technician on and off stage.

We presented our “Crystal Metamorphosis” illusion for the first time live in Europe. Many magicians have heard about the illusion through my “Urban Illusions” book but obviously had never seen us perform it live. Even though they knew exactly what was going to happen, they did not expect it to happen that fast. The biggest compliment that we got from a spectator after the show was “faster than the Pendragons because it is a clear trunk.”*Grin* as Ning would say! But, like fine wine, this act is getting better over the years.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Ning also debuted her “Double Straight Jacket Striptease”. This is an improved version of her original signature straight jacket escape. But now, it is legitimately twice as difficult because she is strapped up into two regulation jackets. Very few magicians or escape artists (male or female) present the double straight jacket escape as it is is difficult and hard to present in an entertaining way.

Photo Credit: Xavier Belmont

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

What makes Ning’s routine unique, besides the “Striptease” presentation, is that both jackets are examined by spectators and they can check every single stitch and strap to see they are 100% secure. After being strapped up in both jackets by a lucky spectator, Ning stripped out of the jackets, one at a time to a huge ovation. Brussels magician, Aaron Crow, said it best, “the sexiest straight jacket escape in he world!” Nuff said!

We presented our brand new modified “360 Sawing” with a slight change in choreography due to the change in design of the illusion. We rebuilt the illusion so that it is extremely small & deceptive and this was the first time we were performing this version of the illusion. I think we did a good job based on the audience’s enthusiastic reactions and ovation.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Photo Credit: Xavier Belmont

We shared the stage with some of magic’s top stars and here are some highlights of the show from the gala show performers:

FISM champion Topas entertained with his entertaining combination of music and card manipulation that got a tremendous ovation from the audience.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

None of Franz Harary’s equipment reached Saint Vincent in time due to delays with the shipment however he still managed to pull together an 8-minute act with stuff he found around the theater, some cloth and his dancers & crew. It shows his sheer genius and mastery of his craft to be able to do that. To his credit, he presented a better “makeshift” act that was created in half a day than many proper professional acts. Mad props to Franz!

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Danny Cole performed his signature act that includes his costume changes, flip stick, lean and sit down suspensions and CD act. It is funny, Danny and I have known of each other for years and we always just miss each other at shows because we are booked one year apart but for the same show. So, it was great finally meeting him and his lovely wife Stacey.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Ed Alonzo is a consummate professional and peppered the show with his offbeat and original acts. I’ve always enjoyed and admired Ed’s work and it was great to see him live. He has an original comedic twist to all his illusions and has a very wide repertoire of working routines. He is so different and unassuming backstage and to be honest, I did not even notice him when he was next to me setting up backstage.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

One of the living legends in magic, Johnny Thompson, performed his dove act. While we did not get to watch it as he was on immediately after us, I have watched his act before and know how good it is. He was also really gracious to us backstage and took the time to speak to us.

Juggler/ Magician/ Artiste, Fred CiePoc, stole the show with his original and incredible juggling and ball manipulation act. Words cannot describe the act as it is full of magic, theatrical surprises and sweet moments. His amazing skills, timing and mime presentation are fused in a single act that is both a magic and juggling act at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like this before. CiePoc is a fairly new comer to the magic circuit but has already done Blackpool and I’m sure we will see more of him very soon.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Arturo Brachetti showed his incredible artistry in pantomime and timing by performing a segment from his one man show. Sheer theatrical genius and performer. The audience was riveted by this “magician” who created magic with absolutely nothing. No question in anyone’s minds why he is Italy’s top theatrical export.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

Jeff McBride closed the show with acts that has made him famous worldwide. His mask act, Miser’s Dream and card act have been honed to perfection after tens of thousands of performances. A fitting close to be gala show.

Photo Credit: Franco Glove

After all the performances, the artistes came back onto stage for a curtain call and received a standing ovation from the audience. It was a pleasure for us to bring our brand of illusion to the other side of the world and share the stage with many of our respected peers in magic.

After the show, we spent time backstage with the performers and VIP guests.

Arturo Brachetti

Fred CiePoc

Aaron Crow

Franz Harary

Ed Alonzo

Eric Eswin, International President, FISM

Uri Geller and Jeff McBride

Johnny Thompson & Pam

Lee Eun Gyeol (who happened to be in Italy at the same time)

In between us, Arturo’s brother Giorgio with a production team member

The man himself, Walter Roflo

Before, we left Saint Vincent for Rome where we were shooting a TV show, we spent some time in the small town and soaked in the beautiful scenery and historic sights.


About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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