On Sunday 23rd of April I visited a wonderful venue at Waterloo, London called The Secret Cellar, Vaulty Towers, Lambeth, London. This is a perfect venue for “parlour magic” (magic that is fairly close as if in a formal drawing room, performing to a refined sophisticated audience). The pub that hosts the Secret Cellar is a brilliant eccentric pub festooned with theatrical decoration and costumes. It also has tree houses and various platforms and dens in which to quaff a beverage of your choice, before and after the show. The venue itself is a wonderful pub so even if you are not seeing a show there, it is worth a visit if in the vicinity.
Dr Houstoun’s “Conjuring” is billed as a “Compendium of Curious Characters and Exquisite Marvels too Strange to be Believed.” From start to finish Dr Houstoun presented a wonderful show full of exquisite sleight of hand magic, combined with historical storytelling that made for an absolutely brilliant piece of magical theatre. The show was just so INTERESTING, what made it so was that this is not a show in which the audience is regaled with witty trivial anecdotes, or situation comedy in which the props the magician uses cause humour and mirth. No, “Conjuring” is a show in which there is a reason why each trick is performed and a real historical story behind each trick, giving the show relevance and context. But don’t think for a minute that “Conjuring” is a dry historical lesson in magic, far from it. The show and stories Will Houstoun has created are full of intrigue and some of the stories are just too unbelievable to be true…Or are they? The show is brought bang up to date with a genius bit of audience participation, the audience decide whether each story is true or false by holding up the show fliers – the red side for false and the green for truth. Then Dr Houstoun reveals the answer, leading to more “aha” moments and engagement from the audience.
“Conjuring” is a fantastic piece of magical theatre, it is carefully scripted with no word or action out of place. It wasn’t long winded, the hour flew by, there was heaps of audience of participation. It was a polished till it sparkled sort of show, which I really enjoyed. For anyone that loves sleight of hand magic then this is a must see show.
You can find details of it here on Will’s site.