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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » Jonathan Pendragon is BACK! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

wendellcotton
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Hello to everyone.

First I am not a magician. I am a semi-pro photographer who has shot dozens of professional magicians; both in action on stage and posed. I can be often be found at California Magic Dinner Theatre in Martinez, CA snapping like crazy and having a great time.

Last weekend, July 16th & 17th, 2010, Jonathan Pendragon returned to CalMagic with his new stage offering. I believe that CalMagic was only his second appearance since the infamous incident(s) in 2009; the Magic Castle being the first. Let me also state that I saw Jonathan perform with Charlotte upon three (3) occasions at CalMagic so I do have a reference point, albeit limited, for my thoughts and opinions.

With all of the attention given to the Pendragon problems during the past year, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing Jonathan again: not just to critique his appearance and technique from a laymen's viewpoint but to (hopefully) see Jonathan in better spirits and even happy. In my unqualified, anecdotal and non-professional opinion Jonathan is over the hump. He seems happier than what I have read about him; he has accepted the situation and resolved himself thereto - something which was probably very, very difficult for him to do. Is Jonathan a happy-go-lucky, flitty guy? Nope. But then he never was.

Anyone who has ever met Jonathan knows what an encyclopedia the guy is. Don't missundertand me here as I don't want anyone to think that Jonathan and I are bosom buddies. We're not. But I did get a better chance to speak with him during his visit this time. This visit over the weekend, coupled with his stage presentation past and present, again impressed me about his many and varied interests. I wrote it on Facebook a few years ago when I posted some pix of The Pendragons, Jonathan is a true Renaissance Man.

But how was his stage presentation?

Jonathan took control of the stage and audience immediately upon his entrance. He owned the stage and without huffiness or puffiness, commanded attention. Bear in mind I am selecting my words carefully here.

I believe his interactions with the audience, for both evenings, were the best I've ever seen from him. Honest to gosh he seemed more relaxed on stage than ever. His smiles were many and one could tell by just watching him that he was having FUN!

But what about his magic? Again, I am not a magician but what I can say is that, for example, his "Sands of Egypt" now performed without Charlotte, was mesmerizing and had the audience gasping in astonishment. Ok, me too. Flawless, absolutely flawless!

He received standing ovations! Something which the CalMagic audiences are very stingy to offer - I've only seen it happen in a handful of shows and I've now seen hundreds of shows at Gerry Griffin's theatre.

I posted on Facebook "PENDRAGON IS BACK!" No kidding. He is. What a treat!!
wendellcotton
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Mindpro
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So was this a magic performance or his new mentalism show?
wendellcotton
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There were elements of both. The first 10 minutes or so were mentalism - some that I had never seen from him.
Ken Northridge
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I'm not surprised to hear this. Johnathan is one of the great performers in magic, and apparently, always will be.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
gaddy
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I'm very glad to hear he's back. I'd be very interested to hear a critical review of his performance.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Ronin
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My take on the show:

I loved the show (I also got to see it both nights), and the audience seemed just as enthusiastic, if not more so. I watched the audience pretty closely (more so on Saturday than on Friday), and saw lots of very strong positive audience responses (jaws dropping, gasps, double takes, lots of smiles and spontaneous applause).

Jonathan featured some of the smaller magic he’s performed for years (Sands of Egypt, the “Cyrano” multiple card selection routine, the linking finger rings) along with some newer mentalism pieces. Jonathan framed these as demonstrations of what his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) enables him to do.

When I heard Jonathan’s Magicnewswire interview a few weeks back, in which he discussed this presentational strategy for mentalism, I was skeptical. When I saw the show, I felt that it worked beautifully. In terms of giving the pieces a sense of “reality”, I think it worked. Jonathan’s natural charm and personal magnetism made it so that people WANT to believe him. I think that the audience’s belief in his claims was a “theatrical” belief…in the same way that an audience “believes” that Hamlet is planning to kill Claudius during the performance, but no one calls the cops after the show to arrest the actor.

In the case of Jonathan’s performance, this was wonderful to watch—it framed the show around Jonathan’s character: a man with insatiable curiosity, a poetic soul and impressive skill. It gave a sense of humanity to the magic, and the audience responded enthusiastically.

Speaking as a magician, there were some parts which dragged a little for me; a multiple card selection piece performed as a kind of memorized deck demonstration seemed a tad slow on Friday night; however, the audience response to the piece was very good (on Saturday, the pace was slightly faster and, again, the audience response was very strong). He had some minor volunteer management issues during a magic square piece on Friday night, but he handled it well, and it was a very good presentation of the effect. I felt that his use of equivoque could have been a little smoother, but it was fine in performance--and the audience was knocked out by the piece.

Jonathan's handling and presentation of the "Sands of Egypt" was different than the version he teaches on the Pendragon's L&L DVD. I liked it a lot, although a fellow magician felt that the ending of the original was better (Jonathan omitted the color changing water effect at the beginning and end of the routine). In conversation afterward, Jonathan revealed his (very well thought out) reasons for changing the routine; other magicians may prefer to approach the effect differently.

I felt that Jonathan did such a good job of opening the show (an elegant and charming torn and restored cigarette paper routine) and projecting his personality throughout that any minor glitches were easily forgiven or completely overlooked by the lay audience—again, the audiences really WANTED to go along with him, and they did.
David Hirata
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"Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
--Federico Fellini
gaddy
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Now THAT'S a review. Thanks, David. Hope you're doing well BTW, it's been a while.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
wendellcotton
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Outstanding David!
Cyberqat
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I hadn't heard about this, but as someone who struggled with Major Affective Disorder until a lucky diagnosis near the end of college got me on just the right medication, I certainly sympathize. FWIW this is a disorder that is, in general, over-represented in the top of the creative and performing fields.

I'm very glad hes being straight forward and upfront about it. Every talented person who comes "out of the closet" on mental disorders makes it that much easier for the rest of the suffers to admit their problems and seek treatment.

So from *another* community we both belong to, if you ever read this, thank you Jonathan.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
conjurormatt
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I also hadn't heard about this until today. I'm glad to hear that Jonathan has been able to get over the many hurtles that have come his way lately. Hopefully I'll get a chance to seem him in action. Anyone know if there are performance clips yet?

(I'm on a dial-up connection right now, so looking up you-tube videos is pointless. however, if someone happens to put up a link, I'll make sure to look at it when I can get a wireless broadband connection).

Cheers!
Matt Martin
Matthew Martin
"Merely to be acquainted with the basic secret of a card trick, in no way qualifies you to perform it. Few people realize that even a simple trick in the hands of a capable performer can become a minor miracle."
~Dai Vernon
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