For a lot of people last time they wanted a magician at their party was when they were 8 years old but magicians don’t just work for children. Adults have always been a great audience for magic because they have defined critical thinking. They “know” it isn’t “real magic” but if performer does his job right he can bring about childlike state of wonder in an adult. A good magician can bring you right back to experience fuzzy feeling you had as a kid when your grandfather pulled a coin out of your ear.
There are 3 styles of magic that are most often hired for events where adults are in majority.
Close-up magic (the most popular choice for people hiring magicians)
Drawing room shows
Close-up magic is often seen at cocktail parties where magician mingles amongst guests performing miracles with borrowed objects and simple objects he has on him. He works without a table and uses people hands when he needs to. This is an excellent choice if all guests will be standing with drinks and eating finger food.
Another type of close-up magic that is closely related to strolling magic is table magic. Table magic is performed between courses at dinners, wedding breakfasts, balls and banquets. You are more likely to see a short (between 3 – 8 minutes) mini cabaret act that has a structured feel to it. The magician may use table but it will be as unobtrusive as possible because at banquets there is a premium on table real estate.
Close-up magicians are being hired more and more for Trade Shows to draw people to stand with customised magic presentations. Presentations are designed to showcase features and benefits of stand they are representing but with amazing magic and not just dry sales pitches.
Cabaret Shows are a great way for a lot of people to see some great magic in a relatively short space of time. Often a close-up magician who has performed strolling/table magic before hand will also do a 20 minute cabaret act after dinner.
There are many different styles of cabaret magician - comedy, traditional manipulation act to music, mind reading etc. The type of event you are organizing will dictate type of cabaret magician you will require. If you would like lots of audience participation and laughter go for a comedy magician, if there will be lots of non-English speakers present then go for a visual act like manipulator and if it is a very business orientated environed maybe a mind reader would be more suited.
You also see cabaret magicians at comedy clubs, cruise ships and also occasionally at motivational events where magic is combined with a motivational speech.
Drawing room shows were almost a dead art for nearly a 100 years. They were immensely popular with Victorians where gentry would all gather to watch a conjurer perform magic. In recent years it is coming back into fashion at private parties where a magician may perform after dinner for 30 minutes or so. This is a taste of days gone by and is close enough for apparently no shenanigans to be going on yet far enough away to use larger effects for everyone to see. This kind of show is most related to a cabaret show but effects are smaller and it is more interactive as audience in only a few feet away.
When choosing a professional magician it is important to choose wisely as in any industry there are “cowboys”.
Questions you may like to ask any prospective performer you are engaging are...
How long have you been a professional? Some magicians may seem great on paper but as all know paper doesn’t refuse ink. Experience is key in this industry so make sure they have cut their teeth.