EASTERN & WESTERN MAGIC (1942)

The Empire, Cairo

Jasper Maskelyne’s new show of Easter and Western magic opened at the Empire last night and promises to be a great success. Not for a very long time has a Cairo audience seen such a polished stage production with such a variety of good acts.

Maskelyne was at his very best, and not only was he able to astonish with his elaborate tricks, but put over some good patter, smoothing that slight rootless which inevitably accompanies the first night of any show.

During the first half of the programme Maskelyne gave his exhibition of Western magic. His latest trick he calls simply A.R.P.s and it is really amazing. Maskelyne dresses in a warden’s overalls and dons a gas mask. To the accompaniment of the sound of a wailing London siren and the fall of bombs, he opens the door of a one man shelter to show it is empty. Then he close it and writes on the door A.R.P. He opens the door again. Standing inside is a figure of death. That figure walks to the edge of the stage, whisks off the face covering, and there stands - Maskelyne!

The second half of Maskelyne’s exhibition was in very effective mime, and though one missed the ready wit of the magician which was so entertaining in the first half, this was compensated by the glory of colour. As an old Chinese sage he performed some truly astounding magic. One of his best tricks was where he filled three tankards with dry cereals. Covering them with handkerchiefs, he tapped them with his fan. He then removed the handkerchiefs and poured coffee from one, milk from another, and sugar from the third. To prove that the coffee was genuine cups were handed round to the audience.