We were pleased to welcome Andrew Normansell to our April meeting at short notice, to substitute for the indisposed John Palfreyman, to whom we send our best wishes.
Andrew has been on our ‘hit list’ for some time, having previously appeared at the MML 26 years ago! Since then he has written a number of books, created some new effects and DVDs, consulted for television and appeared in the Guiness Book of Records . . . so he has a formidable CV and even brought along some new material.
Andrew has an infectious personality, proving what we already knew – that it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. He has the knack of creating direct, commercial effects by the simplest of means, with the emphasis on entertainment.
Andrew’s experiences come from the real world, and he opened with a lovely whistle gag used to gain immediate attention on the comedy club circuit. ‘Forced Option’, as its name suggests, employed a number of clever forces to achieve its aim, while ‘Memorandum 2’ was really a located card couched in terms of a memory feat with a nod to Dominic O’Brien. ‘Opium’ used a similarly effective rationale, while ‘King Con’ utilised the ‘four of a kind’ format. ‘Harlequin’ was Andrew’s ingenious, and cheap, take on divining who had taken a black ball from a bag which contained mainly white ones without using the often insecure principles of weight or magnetism.
‘Drawing Duplication’ technically employed a ‘stooge’ without anybody realising – even the ‘volunteer’ himself – and again showed an awareness of ‘real world’ performance with anecdotes about when the effect could possibly have gone wrong, with practical ‘outs’ and a discussion of the ‘too perfect’ theory of revelation.