An Obsession with Finishing Magic Tricks Clean

Many of the commercial effects on the market today shout about how they have been designed to ‘finish clean’ or be fully examinable both before and after the performance of the trick. But is insisting on finishing magic tricks clean really that important? Is it just some of the ‘sales spin’ designed to sounds good, whilst not really doing anything to improve your performance?

Here’s some important advice from one of the world’s most respected magicians… Wayne Dobson.

There’s something that really annoys me about magicians – amateurs, it’s never pros. For many years this has really been a bugbear of mine.

So many magicians seem more interested in whether the props can be examined at the end! They seem obsessed with ‘finishing clean’. I think you’ll find that all the best things in human interaction don’t end clean!!!

With just average stage management your spectators should never even consider examining your props. They should be investing in you as the performer and the performance in front of them – not the props for goodness’ sake. Someone famous (it may have been Vernon: it usually is) said words to the effect that when a violinist performs a wonderful sonata, the audience doesn’t rush forward and insist on examining the violin.

You are what they will remember. Look at the stars of today like Derren and Dynamo, do you think the spectator is more interested in their magnetic coins than them?

Do you really think at the end of your cups & balls routine, after you have produced 3 lemons and everybody is sitting there with their mouth wide, it makes any sense to then burst the evocative bubble by inviting them to examine your cups?!

If they reach for the props, you have done something wrong. We need to get away from this sense of some kind of battle between performer and spectator where the latter is hell-bent on finding out how the performer ‘did it’. If your performance, and relationship with your audience, ends in that state, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.

I can honestly say that in my 40 years of performing I have never been questioned on the props that I used. Just remember Ken Brooke’s and Danny Buckler saying: “The smaller the prop the bigger the performer.” – Wayne Dobson