FEBRUARY 2020 - ANDREW NORMANSELL
Despite the worst excesses of Storm Ciara, a goodly number of intrepid MMLers braved the elements to enjoy an afternoon of magic and mirth with our old friend Andrew Normansell.
Andrew began with a string of dry, Les Dawson-style one-liners and a lovely attention-grabbing gag with a sports whistle, before launching into a selection of reasonably-priced packet tricks, many of which required no sleight-of-hand skills . . . just presentation, at which Andrew himself is most adept.
There was the Devilish Coin Assembly, Cardboard Chameleons (colour-changing cards), Space Hopper (a close-up ‘one card across’) and Spectator’s Aces – a four ace assembly. Bangkok Devil had multiple routines (including spectator’s cards from pocket) but even Andrew could not work out the meaning of its title – along with Bombay Devil. King Con was another good title, while Seconds was built on the idea of mismade cards – 48 of the pack missing and the rest apparently double backed! Forced Option led to the Zen Deck, Hong Kong Poker, a $100 variation on McDonald’s Aces, Club Special, Rainbow Flush and Easy Readers, using a huge cross to denote a ‘marked card’. In short, Andrew got through almost 20 effects in the first hour, demonstrating efficiently with the emphasis on entertainment. The three over-riding concepts in all of Andrew’s creations are: Entertaining, Easy-to-do and Commercial.
Part two concentrated upon Andrew’s new bizarre range, again all conceived and manufactured by Andrew himself, props being painstakingly sourced and aged to achieve authenticity. The Hades Oracle dealt with Tarot reading, while the thumb cuffs could be presented with a more light-hearted touch. Tarot Diddle was a ‘just chance’ using black envelopes, while Cairo Memoir wove an intriguing tale of mystery based upon an ancient photograph and an old theatre ticket. There were Satan’s Ashes (not to be confused with Santa’s Ashes!), the iconic Dead Man’s Hand and Golden Rendezvous, on a war theme. Andrew had a range of artefacts, including ‘distressed’ tins, crystal balls, candles, haunted keys, pendulums and a voodoo doll, along with an effect employing Juju tablets. Darker scenarios involved the divination of nightmares, from decapitation to premature burial – not for the faint hearted, the wrong audience or an inept performer!
All in all, it was a stimulating afternoon, the atmosphere enhanced by the storm raging outside. President Allan thanked Andrew on behalf of the assembled group, and Donald the Average for providing some splendid refreshments.