Leslie Melville's Magictales... The Lecture
Reviewed by Allen Tipton
In 1947 Leslie (known then as Leslini) and I were 14 year old schoolboy magicians in the Staffs Magic Society. Our ways parted in 1949 and we next met up in February 2007 when he came to present Magictales... The Lecture (based on his best selling recent book) at our Nottingham Guild of Magicians.
What a fascinating, enjoyable evening given by a charismatic lecturer it was. Everything was there that I’d advocated in my own lectures and writings: ‘Magic & Mystery with Entertainment and Entertainment with Magic & Mystery.’ Around a dozen commercial effects , worked with articles you have, mostly to hand: Rope, Cord, Silks, Cards, Paper Bags, Balls, a Bottle, Bills, Linking Pins, Cardboard Boomerangs and even Rubber Mats and Palms that turn red! Other items in his book include Eggs, a Mirror, Egyptian Signs and even teeth; either faked or bought from a dentist.
So what is different about these effects. They are professionally scripted routines bound together with intriguing, exciting, dramatic, funny and above all entertaining stories. Leslie is ‘A Teller Of Tales’.
They are all in the 170 page book, with templates so you can make up the simple extra props needed and advice on storytelling which is more than useful for ANY performance of Magic. He sells it at little more than many lecture notes.
Amongst the effects he wowed the Nottingham magicians with were:
A Witch, A Pill & A Bottle. Frying Knots (great c & r rope), The Blushing Palms of Samoa, Your Hair Will be Your Fortune, Cagliostro Lives, The Strange Tale Of Mr. Tall & Mr. Small, and The Friendly Witch & Her Linking Pins. Then came the whammy; The Kismet Principle. Based on a close-up trick by Gerald Kosky and a manuscript by David Hemingway, it is capable of being adapted to Close-up, Stand Up and Children’s work and performed small or stage filling, in a variety of presentations only governed by your own creativeness and style.
We saw it as Barry Porter and The Slimy Swamp Of Sludge with Freddie Wilkinson, our President and a senior member being chained up waiting to see if Barry Porter (a junior member) could free them in time. Tremendous fun for adults and children. Other Kismet ideas included Pirates, Merlin, a Game Of Chance and An Egyptian Night of Rapture (Oo)
Also we were treated to a cheeky version of The Chinese Sticks, a Frog Puppet using just your hands (or a pair of green gloves) and Leslie’s rescripted version of Roy Scott’s Repeat Note production. This rocked his audience and if it had been mine I’d never have given it away to other magicians. As entertainment it’s that good. I just had to have it.
Nearly 60 year gap between our meeting, it had been more than worthwhile waiting for. Leslie still retained the magnetic, theatrical, personality, with the inborn sense of humour he always had, when I first knew him.
Book The Lecture. Buy The Book
Remember: Storytelling Magic has a big and as yet, untapped market for magicians.
Not Once Upon A Time but NOW!
© Allen Tipton, March 2007