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Review – The Great Carmo – By Val Andrews

http://www.punchandjudyshow.com/book/index.htm

Price : £12

They say : About the Book
To someone who only knew of the Great Carmo as the originator of the Davenport exclusive The Carmo Bead Mystery this book was a fascinating eye-opener. Harry Cameron, Carmo, was a brilliant man of both the Theatre and of the Circus. He had a eye for the spectacular, was a master showman, and married the appeal of Magic and Wild Animals in a way today we associate with Siegfreid and Roy.
We learn that his show was lavish and his magic stunning. He is right up there with the great illusionists, and in many ways more theatrical.
This book not only explores his way of presenting magic, and how it differed from his contemporaries and those who were to follow, but also details the turbulent private life, the two marriages, and the wife who became La Petite Carmo. I found it a tale well worth telling and recommend it enthusiastically.

I Say : What an excellent book. It’s a real book. Quite dinky at about 95 A5 pages but a great read nevertheless. At first £12 may seem quite allot, but if you have ever tackled the small press self publishing route, you will know things are not cheap. The price is a fair one. Also, this book appears to be limited to just 100 numbered copies.

The story of the Great Carmo is a fascinating one, and almost didn’t get told. This book addresses that issue, and is an easy and engaging read. Beginning from Carmo’s early years and charting his highs and lows in the world of great theatre magic and circus. There is perhaps at times a little poetic license with some of the quoted speech, but overall the book feels utterly factual and complete. A really vivid picture of what theatre and illusion must have felt like during the early part of last century is painted superbly, still giving inspiration for today’s theatre.

I loved this book – the human drama, theatre descriptions, performer names I recognised and a poignant inspiration to who must have been a great man – with great support too. The story ends on a slightly sadder note, but it is a story worth reading.

Overall : I cannot fault this book. A great read that will leave you wanting more.

Rating : 9/10. Well, nothings perfect, is it ?
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