Dave Allen at the South Downs Magicians Christmas Party
Wednesday 7th December 2011
Reported by club secretary Paul Bromley
Dave Allen comes with a long list of accomplishments and awards to his name – and it’s easy to see why.
From the moment he stepped out on stage, he conveyed an air of engaging amiability and relaxed confidence. And that goes a long way towards putting his audience at ease and setting the tone for his show.
And “show” is the right word for what Dave Allen does. It’s not just a series of routines or magic effects but a well-rounded, excellently-constructed and superbly-staged performance.
Dave uses a large number of audience members on stage during his routines. Whether young children or adults, he treats them all with the utmost respect and care including, most importantly of all, remembering their names.
He began by introducing a padlocked Box of Mystery hanging in full view to one side of the stage.
An audience member chose a special word to “sponsor” the show which Dave then introduced liberally throughout his routines. The audience member joined him on stage for a blindfolded balloon-popping routine with one coloured balloon left unpopped to win a prize chosen at random by another audience member using an Argos catalogue.
Dave’s excellent vent skills were on show (there’s that word again) when Daisy the Cow appeared for some “udderly” good exchanges and a colour-changing silk routine involving a young boy. The boy’s smile was as wide as the stage.
Then it was his take on “The World’s Most Dangerous Trick” which was so much more than a card sword routine. Dave turned into a masterpiece of comic timing.
Another vent routine followed, this time with an adult from the audience dressed in a mask and a sideways-on baseball cap performing karate routines, disco dance moves and a song. Again, Dave’s handling of his spectator was first class.
Two adult spectators took part in a film poster recognition game which also included the entire audience. This led to a single movie being selected linked to a chosen card.
To round off the evening, Dave then invited the first spectator back on to the stage and revealed the contents of his Box of Mystery – it contained details of the sponsored word, the chosen prize, the colour of the unpopped balloon and the movie poster from the earlier routines.
And that seemed to be the end of the show … until Dave performed a mesmerising Floating Table illusion to the soundtrack “Pure Imagination” from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film (Gene Wilder version).
And then that too seemed to be the end of the show … until Dave invited on to the stage a young girl who had been desperate to help throughout the evening and whom Dave had kept promising that she would get a chance to assist him.
The girl had a smile twice as wide as the stage as she helped to float the table. The “aaaaaah”s from the audience were so heart-felt and heart-warming that they will stay with us right throughout the festive period.
© Paul Bromley, December 2011