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Marc Oberon Lecture Blackpool 2007

An Hour with the Obmeister
Marc Oberon seemed perfectly at home as he walked out to a full house in the Spanish Hall on Friday afternoon. He is an accomplished performer of both close-up and stage magic and I was very interested in seeing what he had in terms of original material to present to the willing audience.

He was clear and engaging and didn’t have too much of the knuckle-biting one-liners that peppered the lectures of most of his peers that weekend. Marc’s style is relaxed and he presented some very good magic. His format was simple and effective: Performance of Effect, Title and Introduction, Explanation. This was rigorously repeated more than ten times in the space of the hour maintaining the correct understanding with his audience. There was always good content and much to learn.

Marc started off with his stacked deck. This consists of an ordered series of keycards with shortened corners, interspersed with ordered cards. He uses this deck when performing and seemed very natural with it. If you’re anything like me and use a stacked deck, such as Tamariz’ Mnemonica, you will seldom arrange the deck from scratch in a performance situation and will prefer to swap the deck midway through a performance. Marc’s deck will allow you to access cards in way that will require less practice time than ungimmicked stacked decks, however the shortened corners mean you must maintain proper deck orientation at all times. You probably won’t use this but it was very impressive to see.

Mentalism was flavour of the hour with Marc, as he displayed a number of (sometimes) complicated but visually appeasing and amazing effects. Highlights included a two digit number prediction where the phrasing of the number allowed a reduced spread of likely choices all handily packed in an envelope. A rather complicated bookmark system ensued which would require much practice to appear smooth and correct, but Marc handled the effect excellently showing that if you put the work in you’ll get the results.

Later on an effect entitled ‘Swipe’ was sure to get the stage mentalists scribbling in their note pads. Marc sat three spectators down on three chairs on the stage. He went on to predict their final locations on a white board after asking them all to swap seats. An incredibly simple and effective idea, ending with a kicker as the predicted spectator positions also appeared on the back of the chairs.

My favourite of the bunch though was Marc’s ‘Digital Deception’. A three digit number is thought of, one number from three individual spectators, only to be found inscribed on a key ring which is an incredibly nice idea. Although I perform very little mentalism, I may put a bit of effort into routining this for myself!

The middle section of Marc’s lecture started with a dodgy spoon stretching effect before moving on to sleights for coins and rings. Marc showed many coin productions and vanishes including his imaginatively titled ‘UK drop’ (think about it for two more second and the proverbial penny will also.. drop). All from his overly mentioned manipulation booklet. Rather than just listing the slights, he showed us his version of a borrowed ring to chain effect using the flash appearance. Using such a strong effect to demonstrate these slights surely resulted in increased sales of his booklet, well done Marc! Other middle effects such as ‘Killer Card’ were nice and all that but, like a randy, out-of-my-league stripper, they didn’t really grab me.

In conclusion, I found Marc’s lecture very engrossing. You will learn a lot of magic from him, and he presents it in the same way I’m sure he presents all his magical performances very professionally. He moved through an impressive amount of material from coins, to cards, to mentalism, all well performed and presented. Like a good pro, he even left us hanging at the end, wanting more, with his very impressive ‘Bang On’ effect. In effect this is the cleanest ‘any card’ prediction in wallet I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately though, no explanation just a price – £70! Probably worth it, but I bet it’s dead simple. If anything matches Marc’s devious magic, it’s his wily entertaining stroke market-based presentation. You’re a sly man Marc, but in an enviable way!

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About the authorKevin McMahon is a professional magician based in Scotland. He started performing magic in 2005 when he appeared on reality TV show ‘Faking It’. Scientist-turned-magician, Kevin, performs at weddings, corporate events and private parties up and down the UK. He presented his new stage show ‘Tricks I Have Learned Since Being On Telly’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2006.