Ian Keable has spent the past thirty years watching a wide variety of magicians performing in the UK, ranging from the superstars of magic through to many lesser known names.
From his notes—and going back to many of the magicians themselves—he has produced a comprehensive listing of the tricks they did in each show. Furthermore each of the programmes is illustrated in full-colour with ephemera relating to the specific performance, whether it is posters, flyers, souvenir programmes, newspaper reviews or photographs.
Some of the more significant shows include Paul Daniels eighteen month run in London’s West End from 1980 to 1982, David Copperfield’s only appearances in the UK in 1994 and 1995, Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants in 1999 and Derren Brown’s sensational first show in 2004. Also included are the programmes of another forty magicians, amongst them being Wayne Dobson, Geoffrey Durham, Guy Hollingworth, Max Maven and Simon Drake.
All of the shows seen, with the exception of a couple, were performed for the paying general public: so, as far as the commercial choice of tricks is concerned, you are getting the real deal. None of the performers were trying to fool, or entertain, other magicians. And Ian was present at all of them, complete with his notebook – so this is a true record of what went on in each show.
This book can be looked at on many levels:
- To provide inspiration for your own performing
- As a fascinating insight into how magic has changed over three decades
- Your own personal souvenir programme for shows you might have seen, and others you wished you had seen
- A historical record of some truly influential and ground-breaking shows
A similar book to Magic Shows hasn't appeared since Spotlight on 101 Great Magic Acts by Tony Taylor, which listed magicians performing in Canada from 1929 to 1963. Prior to that you have to go back to Programmes of Famous Magicians by Max Holden and Programmes of Magicians by JF Burrows. All three of these books have been extensively used by many amateurs and professionals looking for ideas for their own shows; and it is surprising that it’s only now that a similar type of book has appeared.
Magic Shows, however, scores on its predecessors in a number of areas: the inclusion of extensive full colour illustrations throughout the book; the listing of the shows in chronological order, which enables the reader to see the development of certain individual magicians, as well as an overall trend of how the performance of magic for the lay public has changed over thirty years; and introductory notes by the author covering relevant facts about the show and the performers (some of whom might be unknown to many readers).