Richard Griffin and
Princess Cruise Lines
Reviewed by Jonathan Jay
If you aren’t familiar with this act, it’s probably because Richard left the UK eleven years ago to work solely on the (better) cruise ships. For the record, he won - by a mile - The Young Magician of the Year, The British Ring Shield AND The Blackpool Magical Championships – the first magician ever to do so. He’s also done rather well at several FISM competitions. So he’s no young upstart act – he’s being performing professionally for 20 years.
I’ve known Richard for the same length of time and over the years watched the dove and manipulation act he was known for become the fastest, slickest, quick change/illusion/sleight of hand act you’ll ever see.
He performs two completely different 45 minute shows and they are 99% silent. But there’s no fluff or filler – it’s a show that has pace, humour, style and sophistication. One reason the public give for not liking magic acts is that they often appear so dated; however, Richard’s tailor-made suits, modern music, choreographed routines and charisma turn those sceptics into raving fans.
I’ll mention a few highlights of the show. Nothing, by the way, is a ‘standard’ routine. Each has a twist that guarantees a strong audience reaction – and I’ve seen him get an unprompted standing ovation from a British audience.
The opening sequence to the first show is a remarkable double quick change where both Hayley and Richard change costume – it’s not just fast, it looks like it happens right before your eyes. The gasps from the audience are audible.
In the second show Hayley changes costume seven times in two minutes – it is unbelievable to watch as each change is apparently effortless – the outfits seem to melt away and one particular change behind a puff of dry ice has to be seen to be believed.
A multiplying thimble and card production routine show that Richard is an outstanding manipulator – he’s fast, accurate and entertaining – and even manages to get laughs in the thimble routine.
The dancing handkerchief is an audience favourite as is a rising card routine with a girl from the audience wins over the parents. A floating table routine gets gasps and a Griffin original spiker box illusion looks impossible from every angle. You’ll also see a levitation, razor blade, mismade girl and a straight jacket escape that surprisingly becomes a transposition (an original illusion created by Richard).
So what makes this act so good? (Bear in mind, hundreds of magic acts apply to work on cruise ships every year and Richard and Hayley are specially requested by the top cruise lines, year after year.)
It’s professional, perfectly choreographed to outstanding music, has the audience gasping, laughing and most importantly, talking about it afterwards.
Hayley is an outstanding assistant and is a memorable part of the show – never distracting or a stereotype, she adds panache and glamour to a show that plays huge 1000 seat ship theatres.
Very few acts working today have the consistent years of professional experience that Richard and Hayley have. In my opinion every aspiring magician should grab the opportunity to see a professional act transform a sometimes ‘over-entertained’ cruise ship audience into a solid fan base and you can watch Richard on You Tube and see for yourself.
© Jonathan Jay, September 2009