What Is Theatrical Pickpocketing?

By Damian Jennings - Monday, October 24, 2022

Theatrical Pickpocketing usually involves the performer inviting members of the audience onto the stage. They then secretly remove watches, wallets and even ties and belts from the spectators without them realizing. This is incredible fun for both the participants and the audience alike.

To get a good idea of how this plays out, let’s take a look at the late, great Mark Raffles performing his act.

As you can see, it is fooling, entertaining and very funny.

But, although it is obviously allied with magic thanks to the use of sleight of hand techniques and the reliance on misdirection to work at all, there is not much in the way of “magic tricks” involved.

Thanks to the work of FISM Grand Prix winner, Héctor Mancha, all that is about to change. In his new magic book The Wonderous World of Pickpocketing, Héctor pushes the art of pickpocketing into new, more magical roads.

How do you combine pickpocketing and magic? Let us take one example from the new book:

In “Ring Over the Rainbow” magical props and techniques are used as well as pickpocketing techniques. But, as you’ll see, they are really quite optional.

Three volunteers join you on stage and you ask another member of the audience to lend you a ring. In exchange, the ring-lender gets to hold your wallet as security - just in case anything happens to the ring. You hold the ring behind your back and instruct one of the volunteers to place the ring in any pocket of anyone on the stage without saying a word. You then attempt to steal the ring out of the pocket, but fail. Because the ring is actually in the wallet held by the ring-lending audience-member.

Now, we’re not going to get into the specifics of method here, it will be obvious to most of you reading this, especially if the name Nick Einhorn means anything to you.

But what we will talk about is how this entire act lets you almost practise pickpocketing in a wholly relaxed, no-pressure environment. You have told them what you will be doing. Whilst “trying” to steal the ring out of the mystery pocket, you have ample opportunity (and cover) to try and take other things you happen upon as you “look” for the ring. If there’s nothing easy to steal, don’t steal anything and the parlor trick still ends incredibly strongly.

However, if you do happen upon some glasses, a wallet, a phone or anything else simple to lift in the pockets you go into looking for the ring, you are set up for a miracle.

This is just one example of the brilliant thinking in The Wonderous World of Pickpocketing. You have a super solid piece of parlor or stage magic with four volunteers involved, comedy, and a very strong magical effect. Great. But, you get the bonus that if you manage to find anything suitable, you can add a massive extra climax to the routine, by handing back the items to your spectators as they return to their seats.

The book will empower you to practise and learn pickpocketing in real time, on real people, in an utterly low-risk situation where nothing at all bad will happen if you fail to get anything.

Additionally, of course, you will learn how to steal watches, ties, wallets, belts, and more. And you will learn how to practise them. But the real value in this book comes from the wonderfully thought out, theatrical routines that any parlor or stage magician will definitely use.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Blackstone, Herrmann, Wonder, and even our own Andi Gladwin, we believe this new book is very worthy of your consideration.

Buy The Wonderous World Of Pickpocketing Now

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