An Informal Evening With Olly Day
The Anglian Magic Society
Tuesday 19th January 2016
Reviewed by Steve Majes
Olly Day is a much loved comedy magician and can be seen regularly gracing the theatre stages of Norfolk. His cheeky humour and vocal talents have seen him return to the theatres year after year with audience attendance breaking records and added dates.
We have been trying to get Olly to lecture for us for a number of years now, he is such a busy fellow! At the time having just finished a very successful theatre Christmas season on Cromer Pier, we took the chance and asked if he would lecture before his next theatre contract at the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston started. Olly is a humble chap and never craves the spotlight when off stage so after some persuasion from his friends he cleared some time and said yes.
It’s always fascinating to hear how a successful performer started on that route and Olly started his informal chat with that answer, David Nixon! Watching David on the television sparked off that magic bug and like most of us it became a slight obsession. Olly recalled reading the “Look In” magazine of the time and learning the tricks and puzzles that were featured within by Mr. Nixon.
Olly gained an insight into the life of a real life magician as during his teens his best friends dad was Lenny Rud a working professional magician. Lenny was a great boost to this magical path and sold a lot of professional equipment to Olly, he recalled how Lenny had laid out lots of props and asked Olly to choose the items that suited him, undecided Lenny gave them all to him.
Olly worked hard with his magic to make money and between shows he was selling small novelty magic tricks at the local market to make ends meet, “After an hour cold fingers could be a problem so you made your money as fast as you could in that first hour”. Olly recalled the various magic jobs and talent competitions he entered to gain that foothold on the ladder, one such competition was “Fannys Night Club Talent Show” there was much laughter from our members as Olly described that evening and the acts that it included, the final surprise was that after winning he was presented with a trophy by his now close friend and popular TV illusionist at the time Chris North. Chris is also a much respected member of the society and it was lovely to hear how their stories combined.
Olly is a naturally funny story teller and his recollections of working part time in the magic shop and novelty business were hilarious especially when the magic department, out the back, was turned into an adults toy department. During these magic shop days Olly got to meet one of his heroes Tommy Cooper. It was fascinating to hear Olly’s insight into this legendary character.
Olly in his own words says he has been very lucky, but after hearing the work he has put in luck could only have played a very small part. He clearly loves to entertain and is naturally entertaining and this showed all the way through his chat. Olly also passed on tips from his wedding and corporate work and a routine from his children’s road safety show, this show was designed for the school market and now celebrates it’s 21st working year!
Olly filled the evening with stories and one or two tricks along the way, I could easily fill paragraphs with quotes and fun stories as he has done so much over his career and continues to do so. Each step has led the way to the success he has earned and deserves today, from those David Nixon days, Lenny Rud’s inspiration, selling the tricks at markets, children’s magic shows and competitions to running magic shops, entertainments teams and being a sought after cabaret performer, it certainly sounds like a fun ride and we had a lot of fun listening in. I do hope Olly has the chance to continue his stories as I feel we only got a slight glimpse beyond that spotlight.
© Steve Majes, February 2016