April 27, 2018

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Magic in St James'

I enjoyed performing two shows this Thursday and Friday at the British Academy in St James' at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1. This former residence of Prime Minister William Gladstone is a fitting backdrop for the elegant magic of the early 1900s. The music room - pictured below is close how I imagine the setting might have been for the great magicians of the past like Robert Houdin, who performed his show in at the Palais Royal in Paris. Space is so important in setting the atmosphere for a show, and the Georgian detailing of this prestigious London venue gives a sense of grandeur that suits classical magic. As soon as you enter, you feel as though you have taken a journey back in time.

 Above: The Music Room at The British Academy.

 

Robert Houdin was a pioneer in magic, and remembered for a number of illusions. These included  'the ethereal suspension', in which his youngest son was levitated, 'the marvelous orange tree', a mechanical wonder (automata) where a lady's ring was vanished and reproduced from a handkerchief held by two butterflies, and 'second sight' - a feat of impossible mindreading.

 

Below: Robert Houdin performing 'Second Sight'.

 

 

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