One of the secrets of effective magic is to leave the audience wanting more. No matter how good something is, overdoing it is never a good thing – anyone who’s eaten an entire box of Lindor chocolates in one sitting will know what I mean. Yet sometimes a booking makes this unavoidable.

Surprisingly often when I’m talking to a client about a gig they will say that they want to book me for a “couple of hours”. My next question is always to ask them how many guests they’re expecting. If they reply “about a dozen”,  I’m forced to explain the concept of less is more….

One of my worst experiences of this was a quite a few years ago, when covering for another magician. It was a booking for three hours in the client’s back garden. When I arrived I was horrified to see just three tables. I tried to explain (tactfully) why this was a bad idea, but the client was having none of it. The original magician had agreed to do three hours and that was that!

To make matters worse, he insisted I carry on performing while the guests were eating and even more uncomfortably while a singer was doing her act. So I did about an hour per table, and looking back, I don’t know how I did it. Luckily I have a LOT of material but it was not a pleasant experience at all and although I got away with it, I know his guests would have appreciated it much more if they’d seen a few tricks scattered throughout the evening, instead of being bombarded with magic for the entire party.

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