Saturday 23 February 2019

Expert interview with Gloucestershire magician Richard Parsons

With mind-boggling tricks involving cards, coins, money and fire, Gloucestershire magician, Richard Parsons, certainly knows how to entertain wedding guests with style. Here, he gives SoGlosWeddings the lowdown on what to expect from a wedding magician.

Gloucestershire-based magician Richard Parsons is one of only a few full-time professional magicians in the UK and has been entertaining and dazzling wedding guests with his close-up magic for nearly ten years.

A member of the world-famous Magic Circle and winner of multiple prestigious wedding awards, Richard remains a sought-after entertainer for special events across Gloucestershire and beyond.

In this interview, Richard gives SoGlosWeddings a glimpse into what it’s like to be a magician and perform at weddings across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

 Interview with Gloucestershire Magician

Image © Matt Bunting, Novel Focus Photography


Is there a certain type of wedding that suits having a magician?

A magician is perfect entertainment for any wedding. I’ve performed at very small intimate weddings of 12 people performing an after-dinner show for 45 minutes, right up to Hindu weddings with hundreds of people where I am there for a few hours.

One of the reasons is because magic can entertain such a huge age-range of people, from young children right up to people of a ‘certain age’. I think most people enjoy a good magic trick.

What style of magic do you perform at weddings?

I specialise in walkaround close-up magic and ‘table hopping’, so that means entertaining small groups at a time and then walking over to the next group or table and showing them some tricks for a few minutes. My tricks involve cards, coins, money, fire, and all sorts of things vanishing and reappearing!

However for very small weddings, for example 10 to 20 people, I also can perform an after dinner show to the entire group, which usually lasts about 45 minutes and is ideal at coffee time.

My tricks involve cards, coins, money, fire, and all sorts of things vanishing and reappearing!

When’s the best time during the big day to have a magician?

From experience of performing at a lot of weddings in Gloucestershire and around the Cotswolds, I would recommend one of three different time slots. Either after the ceremony during the photos and the drinks reception; during the wedding breakfast going from table to table or after the wedding breakfast in that early evening ‘lull’ before the evening guests arrive. I can bring a lot of energy to the day and create a real buzz regardless of when I am performing.

After about 9pm is usually unsuitable at a wedding as guests are dancing, the music is louder and it’s time for me to then leave them to it.

How long do you tend to perform for?

That depends on the number of guests and size of the wedding which I can judge when people email me an enquiry about their day, but usually 90 minutes, or two or three hours. I would say two hours is the most common amount of time.

Interview with Gloucestershire Magician

Image © Matt Bunting, Novel Focus Photography

Is magic becoming a more popular form of entertainment at weddings?

Magic is very popular on television at the moment on television and I think people are realising that it’s not all top hats and bunny rabbits, which is a good thing.

Do you have one trick up your sleeve that’s a particularly good ice breaker?

I do like tricks with fire or money and either always grabs people’s attention, especially when I’m borrowing their money!

What’s the funniest reaction to a trick you’ve ever witnessed at a wedding?

I often get screams, squeals and people running away laughing, so it’s hard to think of just one reaction.

Have you ever had any tricks go wrong at a wedding?

It does happen to everyone sooner or later. Not so wrong that I couldn’t recover from it and change the trick into something else. You have to be adaptable and this is where experience comes in. The good thing is, most of the time people don’t know what the ending of the trick is going to be so if I change the trick in the middle it doesn’t matter.

I often get screams, squeals and people running away laughing.

What does it mean to be a member of the Magic Circle?

I’m proud to be a member of The Magic Circle, especially as there are only around 1,500 members in the entire world so it really is an exclusive club. You don’t have to be a member to be a magician but there are benefits – lectures, events, and a library, and of course access to lots of very experienced people. The headquarters is near Euston station in London and is a beautiful building that also houses lots of museum pieces in the art of magic.

Did you have to do any special training or tests to become part of the Magic Circle?

Yes, entry is via audition only. You have to be nominated by two existing Magic Circle members, then have a brief interview followed by an eight-minute audition in front of three judges and around 40 people – all magicians. It was terrifying.

They have all seen thousands of tricks so you know you can’t fool them, and you’re not expected to, you just have to do your best. I did work on a routine and get some magician friends to look over the routine before I did it. On the night there were four auditions and I believe three of us got in.

Have you ever made the wedding rings disappear?

I’m not brave enough to borrow the wedding rings! Too risky as far as I’m concerned. I do borrow items, including rings, but will usually borrow a costume jewellery type of ring if possible. Borrowing items off people is very important because it really can add to the effect…

The guests know if I borrow something then it can’t be gimmicked in anyway as it is their item, therefore if it vanishes and appears in an impossible location it’s even more magical and mind blowing – same goes for why we get spectators to sign their name on playing cards. Some of my magic creates souvenirs (for example, bent forks) that the guests can keep and take home as a souvenir as well.

 Interview with Gloucestershire Magician

Image © Matt Bunting, Novel Focus Photography

Is your style of magic more Derren Brown or Dynamo?

Derren is regarded as a mentalist and I’m getting too old to be a street magician, so I’m probably somewhere in between. A gentleman magician I guess. Derren in particular really is a fantastic showman like some of the great stage magicians in the past. I do perform some of the tricks that Dynamo uses though I don’t walk on water. David Williamson or David Stone are two of my favourite magicians; definitely look them up on YouTube.

Has the rise in popularity of magic increased the demand of magicians at weddings?

Based on the fact I get enquiries all the time, and already have bookings for 2019, I’d say yes.

How many drinks would we have to give you for you to reveal your tricks?

Ha ha great question. Never. The motto of The Magic Circle is Indocilis Privata Loqui which roughly translated means ‘Ssshhhhhhh’ – they are all secrets. Though if you are offering I’ll have a gin and tonic.

For more information see Gloucestershire Magician, call 07968 176018 or visit
gloucestershiremagician.co.uk directly.

And to see Gloucestershire Magician on social media, visit twitter.com/glosmagician and instagram.com/glosmagician directly.

© SoGlos
Friday 30 January 2015

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