When NOT to book a close-up magician!
Every close up or table magicians website will happily tell you what sort of event close-up magic is right for (weddings, parties, company events etc. etc. etc.) but nobody has the courage to tell you when close-up magic is a bad idea.
I get enquiries for all of the following types of events and whereas in the past I would do them quite happily, these days I think it's a better idea to suggest suitable alternatives.
1. Shopping Centres or Shops
Sometimes a shop will have an event for their top customers and they have an evening launching something or other and get the champagne, canapes and a bit of entertainment (that's where the magician comes in!) This is fine but is probably the exception for any type of shop magic. I have in the past been asked to perform close up magic for people who are just visiting a shop in the daytime. Doesn't really work. People just want to do their shopping and go. Being stopped to watch a magic trick doesn't hold much appeal to anyone apart from gangs of chav kids who will generally swarm round a magician like flies. My advice if you want to create a fun atmosphere in a shop is to get someone walking about on stilts, or something similar.
2. Parties for the under 14s
Close up magic is for adults. A large group of 9 year olds, no matter how advanced will not really appreciate it. I am sometimes phoned up by someone looking for a magician for this sort of thing and told that they are all very intelligent and love the table magic that they have seen in the past but I am 100% sure it's ill advised. Probably best to hire a kids entertainer who also does close-up magic. Saying all this, I have done a dinner party for a group of 16 year olds and it went very very well.
3. Very Noisy nightclubs
Dark, music playing at ear-splitting volume. Completely wrong environment for close up magic that relies heavily on audience interaction ie. hearing what the magician is saying.
4. Very small parties
I have had enquiries for events asking for a magician for a dinner party with only four guests. I have also heard rumours about magicians getting asked to entertain at parties with 1 person present. Needless to say, this is not particularly recommended nor is it really that cost efficient! If anyone does want to book me for an event of 2 or fewer guests I may actually consider it, if only because it would make a good blog post.