Will Houston lectured in Cork on the 13th April last and The Southern Brotherhood of Magicians' John Casey reviewed it for IMN...
"Wow, what a lecture we were treated to by Will Houston in Cork last week. However, this was not your typical lecture where a performer will demo pieces from his repertoire and then go on to explain them, in fact if you came to this lecture expecting trick after trick then you would have been disappointed. But for the true student of magic this lecture was both unexpected and delightful.
Over the past few years Will has been given access to the library of The Magic Circle in London and he based his lecture on the research that he carried out on two of the books that he studied there. The first was a notebook that he dated to the late 1790’s or early 1800’s and contained the notes and tricks of an unknown magician working in London at the time. Will studied this hand written document and from it he has produced a fascinating book simply titled ‘The Notebook’. During the course of the lecture Will shared with us the process he used to date the notebook, by studying the performers mentioned, the style if the language, etc. He also shared many stories of the performers mentioned and the observations made by the author in relation to many of the tricks explained in the notebook. In fact Will noted that this was quite an interesting find as he believed that it was written in such a way that the author intended for other magicians to study and learn from its pages, it reflected a more modern style than what was popular at the time. Will also demonstrated some of the effects and sleights that were explained in the notebook and it’s amazing how contemporary these effects are by today’s standards. In fact some moves and sleights that were claimed to be invented by some modern day performers Will found written up in the notebook which is 200 years old!! To finish off the first half of his lecture Will performed and explained a beautiful coins across effect performed at chest height and that was inspired by a segment of Homer Liwag’s Coin One routine in which you see a coin tossed from hand to hand only to realize it hasn’t travelled at all. You really need to see this to believe it!!
The second book, and second half of the lecture, centered on another hand written notebook which detailed the magic of Professor Hellis. Again Will has turned his study of this notebook into a beautiful book entitled ‘Hellis in Wonderland’. Hellis was another great, but less well known, magician who performed in England during the 1800’s. However, although his performances were both impressive and extensive, it is his influence on names such as Professor Hoffman and Devant that make him such an important figure in the history of magic. Again Will drew from his study of Hellis’s notebook to enthrall us with historical stories and anecdotes from magic’s historical past. But to close his lecture Will broke the mould slightly and performed his signature effect ‘Freak’, which has now been produced by Dan and Dave Buck.
Overall this was a really great lecture and the feedback from those who attended was really quite amazing. Many people came expecting to see a close up lecture but instead they were treated to a fascinating study into the history of magic, sprinkled with performances straight from the inner vaults of The Magic Circle library and their only complaint was that Will had to finish up!! Many would have stayed for longer listening to Will’s many historical anecdotes. This was a really unexpected, fascinating and delightful lecture from one of the most talented and knowledgeable young magicians’ in the world today."
Well done to all the lads in the Southern Brotherhood of Magic who are doing a super job. Check out their great website here