A review from the Abracadabra magic magazine of Jasper Maskelyne's summer season show at the Westminster Theatre, London in 1947.
JASPER MASKELYNE & CO. (Westminster Theatre, London)
"At last Wednesday’s matinee, about as many celebrities of the magical world graced the front of house, as were on the stage itself. Your reviewer had the misfortune to be surrounded by Robert Harbin, Peter, Waring, and Billy McComb. Every time anyone on the stage did anything, Billy said, 'I can do that,' Bob Harbin said, 'I bet you can’t,' and a heated argument arose, and the one thing needed to complete the picture was Edward Graves, to object to Eric Mason’s plug for Abracadabra. Afterwards, we all went back-stage to see how it was done, and since it’s the 'behind-the-scenes' stuff that always appeals to the man who sits in front, we can report that all the wives of all the artists were busy pouring out tea and made us very welcome.
"Let’s just glance at the show. Opening was Donna Delbert, who handled her youthful volunteer assistants very nicely. She does fire-eating and tricks with whips. Coming from America, where they do these things more efficiently than our own people, she started to show off in sensational style. Saveen, a ventriloquist with novel material, good technique, and a nice manner, registered well, and he was followed by Musaire, with a contraption which plays tunes by oscillation. Edward Victor closed the first half with his masterly hand-shadows. He was to appear with his polished sleight-of-hand, later in the programme, and the continuous egg production, on which the curtain fell was one of those touches of brilliance, which come all to rarely in magic shows.
"Raoul opened after the interval. His prize-winning flower-painting, and the giant Fantastic Frame and Cabby, especially made for him by Eric Lewis, were the two principal effects here. The Great Masoni presented his 'Seeing Through a Woman Illusion' - still an amazing affect after a dozen viewings – had a pleasant little front-cloth routine using Wandman’s 'Circle-Circle' apparatus. Masoni made an appearance that was all-to-brief in a programme that could otherwise have been improved by a little judicious pruning; we felt that it was about fifteen minutes too long.
"Jasper Maskelyne closed. Two Oswald Williams, items, 'Dizzy Limit' and 'Watch the Watch,' the Maskelyne escape trunk, 'Asrah,' the Chinese Rings, and a couple of minor effects were presented in his smooth, suave, and unhurried fashion, and his new feature effect, Claude, the Mechanical Man from Mars, who forecast on a slate the answer to an addition sum, was effective, novel and interesting.
"For a matinee, the house was well-filled and the summer season at this theatre promises to be highly successful. Alistair Maskelyne stage-managed."
A poster for Hey Presto! (Third Edition) (Summer 1947), courtesy of The Magic Circle
Original review in Abracadabra magazine (Vol. 4, 1947-1848)