I was recently asked to contribute towards an article that Mark Leveridge was writing for the latest issue of MagicSeen magazine, which I was both flattered and excited to do so, and when I saw the finished article, I was delighted with the results.
I can’t give too much away but Mark really wanted to get the opinion and perspectives of what it is actually like to be a magician’s assistant, there were three featured girls and I was delighted to be rated as one of the UK’s top assistants and in that three was the UK’s most famous – “Debbie McGee”
So how did I become a magicians assistant?
I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and also more importantly at the right time in my life to be able to pursue the career in magic. At the time I was asked by Keelan to assist with illusions, I was at college, so had the time to practice and then I took a gap year so we could see how we got on before I went to university. I never went to university because I can honestly say I think I had one of the most rewarding and busiest “gap years” ever! I performed 110 theatre show performances over 5 months, all over the country with the legendary Basil Brush, and although cringing now, at the time, it was awesome and I look back on it with the fondest memories. At the time we were breaking in the Quick Change and performing illusions, it was stressful and the logistics were insane – Scarborough on a Wednesday, Torquay on a Thursday. Without this tour and the support from former illusionist and Sooty sidekick Richard Cadell, there is not a doubt in my mind that we would never had had the opportunity to go as far as we did with the Quick Change.
After the tour ended in November, we made the decision to enter and continue rehearsing for the British Magical Championships which was held in Blackpool in the February, we entered the General Magic category, and the competition was immense, so many competitors and so many AMAZING acts, literally it was the year of stiff competition, but our hard work and 110 shows paid off and we were blessed to win not only the “General Magic” award we also won the most prestigious award – “British Magical Grand Prix Champions” – this was and still to this day is, one of the proudest moments of my life, and greatest achievements. Even thinking back to that night, brings emotion to me.
As soon as we won the championships, we decided that we would try to get on the cruise ships, and we did, by basically bulls***ting our way on to one without a show. This proved stressful when after the initial call was made, a contract starting in 3 weeks rocked up in the inbox and we realised that saying we had a 45 minute show when we actually had 8 minutes would prove to be a stressful and expensive 3 weeks preparing with little sleep, this was the nurturing of my grey hairs!
Anyway, we had some of the most horrific times at the start of the ships but we stayed with it and rehearsed hard and continually evolved the show and did that for two years, and had some of the best times and got to see SO much of the world. We have been truly blessed and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
Life after the performing magic on the cruise ships
Towards the end of the two years, we were starting to get itchy feet to do something more fulfilling because there is ALOT of spare time on the ships (and again – looking back – Oh my goodness – I had the best life and you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone – loads of money, 2 shows a week, food prepared, room cleaned, gym, pool, everything and looking back – it’s like “really – I left that!!! WHY??!!) But the reality is that all the cruise ships are just a bubble, there isn’t anything real about them, and for short periods they are so much fun, but long term, if you are a driven person, you will go insane because it is the same routine over and over.
The other reason that we choose to leave the ships was because for the last 4-5 months we were on the ships, we had purchased our new baby a UK magic shop called MagicTricks.co.uk, and running that remotely proved to be too problematic. Initially it was ok, because it needed rebuilding so we just spent all the port time searching for internet to work on our new company but felt that it couldn’t really blossom until we dedicated ourselves to it fully by having broadband, so made the choice not to renew the contract.[one_third]
[/one_third]We left the ship in the September and November brought us our first International corporate booking which was a fly in, fly out to India. This was a big turning point for us, we decided that we were done with the big show and just carrying and shipping all the props and we would just perform the Quick Change. the day we decided on a USP, was the day we became so busy and ever since November 2008, we haven’t stopped performing internationally, and have been to every corner of the globe, done some of the most amazing events, met some incredible people and overall had the best 5 years imaginable.
This was a big turning point for us, we decided that we were done with the big show
On top of all the traveling we have still been running MagicTricks.co.uk and now MagicDirect.com so have had such a busy time and it is the times when I get off a 12 hour flight straight from the show and have to go straight to the magic shop office because I have been away a few days that I think back to the ship, and all the sleep and sunbathing but deep down, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way and when I’m not busy, I’m not fulfilled. I like to be running hot all the time, going at 100 mph because I feel like I’m achieving.
To read all the actual truths behind being a Magician’s Assistant – catch the MagicSeen article by downloading the latest issue from – www.magicseen.co.uk
I have so many amazing stories, I won’t bore you all with them now, but watch this space for some of my best memories of performing magic.