Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Awesome Magic Clips -- Tim Ellis & Sue-Anne Webster

Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster are a pair of super-talented (and, by all accounts, super-nice) Australian magicians who've earned themselves quite an international reputation among the cognoscenti. They also run an excellent blog called Magic Unlimited, which is a reliable source of fun, clever ideas, and spot-on advice from a couple of busy professionals. Tim is a two-time FISM winner, which should give you some idea of the level he's working at.

I'd never seen any of their material until today, but I just discovered that they have some fantastic clips online:

It starts with Tim's famous Runaround Sue routine. This is a beautifully constructed piece of magic, tightly executed. Next up is Sue-Anne's Jeannie act. This one's charming but needs more material, in my opinion, since not enough happens to justify the setup. The Floating Table's always struck me as painfully obvious, and the audience's delayed, lukewarm reaction would seem to support my instincts on this one. But the premise is terrific, and Sue-Anne's a delightful presence ("Lucky Tim!" seems to be a common reaction among their male fans, including this one.)

The third clip is Tim's presentation of the classic Razor Blade effect, and it's also tight, funny, extremely clear, and very deceptive. The last one is their presentation of Houdini's Substitution Trunk. This is one of the most overused illusions in magic (here's a dull but servicable version) and I've always felt that, for the most part, there's no reason to do it now that The Pendragons have taken it to such a high degree of polish.

Tim and Sue-Anne turn it into a raucous party; it's one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a long time (and makes me wish I was there when they performed it). Highly recommended!


Tip of the Hat to Brendan Croft of the Magic, Illusion, and Data Managment blog, where I first saw these clips. They load a lot faster on Ellis and Webster's own site, so that's the link I provided above.


Trickster said...

hmmm, both feeds come from youtube, I wonder why mine is slower. Thanks for the hat tip and thanks for the entertaining reading.


PeaceLove said...

I assumed they had their own feed, even though it said youtube. I have no idea why there's should run faster, but they seem to do so.

Thanks for the great blog too, by the way.

Mike Baker said...

Another technically proficient magician with ZERO artistic sensibilities. Please stop mugging for the camera. It's embarrasing for everyone (See also: Jason Latimer clip). Why did the public gravitate to David Blaine and Criss Angel? Because they didn't mug to the camera constantly. They gave people enough credit to figure out when something was supposed to be strange, amazing, funny, etc. It's a sad state of affairs if Tim Ellis is one of the best our art has to offer.

PeaceLove said...

What do you REALLY think, Mike?

I think Ellis is charming and funny. What's not to like about the Runaraound Sue Cups and Balls routine? Or the Razor Blades? Or that wacked-out Sub Trunk?

I also like Blaine and Angel, too. In fact, I've frequently opined that Blaine is the most important magician of my lifetime, maybe the most important magician since Houdini. Magic, like music, can succeed within many different styles and frameworks; why try to limit its range?

The idea that a magician can be technically proficient with zero artistic sensibilities is fundamentally flawed, in my opinion. Technical proficiency is inextricably linked with performance elements like timing, direction (or misdirection), character, and presentation. I've seen plenty of close-up magicians who are referred to as "technically proficient" who look to laymen as if they're doing a lot of fancy work. The truly proficient make the work invisible.

I'm surprised you think Ellis and Latimer have "zero artistic sensibilities." Same Art, Different Planet, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peace Love, just came across your comments and wanted to say thanks! Glad you enjoy our work.

As for Mike Baker, I respect your opinion too. There are some people who don't like my style, just as some don't like Blaine for being plain or Angel for being weird. Just compare magic to the world of comedy where you have extremes like Carrot Top, Robin Williams, Steven Wright, Billy Crystal, Peewee Herman... Some are subtle, others mug like crazy.

Personally, I'd love to be more subtle, darker, more mysterious... but my audiences seem to prefer me in a wacky, over the top hyper-energetic persona. Who knows, maybe it will change and evolve as I get older, but for the moment, that's the artistic choice that's paying the bills!


Anonymous said...

brendan croft is the biggest liar on the peninsula.
ask him something...anything.....about his past, and itll be a lie.

ask him about his mental illnesses and it will be a lie.

be warned; dont get sucked in by brendan croft. he is one fucked up little man.

PeaceLove said...

Hmmm. Someone has issues...