Creating a small show, need some advice

Nov 29, 2008
I was asked to do a 15-30 minute show for my university for a social event. They said it would be about 300-600 ppl with a small stage. I'm trying to devise what kind of short show I could do. I do mainly cards and coins but I also do spongeballs, the gypsy thread, Stigmata, and a few other things here and there. This is the list of tricks I had originally devised to do. There is no theme for the show, but I don't think I'm really being advertised as the main attraction so I don't see it as that much of a problem. I'll give you guys a possible set list and then see what you think. I'm now exactly sure how it will go, considering that I only do close-up magic and its a large audience. These are in a semi-order, but I have no problems moving things around.

Impossible Coins Across (Eric Jones)
Charming Chinese Challenge (Troy Hooser)
CAANDY (Chris Mayhew)
Criterion (Chad Nelson)
Helder Skelter (Helder Guimaraes)
Signed Card to Sealed Box
I'm also gonna throw Dresscode in there somewhere, because of the nature of the event I'll be able to have patter for it.


forum moderator / t11
Elite Member
Sep 14, 2008
Louisville, OH
I'm just going to be flat out honest here and say that if you have 300-600 people coming (regardless of if you are the headliner or not)...that is definitely considered a stage show and most of what you have listed will not even be seen or "viewable" to people sitting out in the cheap seats.

Why not use 3 to 4 bigger props effects, great patter, some comedy, and blow them away and give them something to remember. It is tough to do close up style effects up on a stage and have the audience enjoy them and feel "in the moment". I am not making this stuff up. I tried using a few close up effects on a stage once for just 100 people and after wards was told that about half of the effects weren't even seen. This was 3 years ago and I have never made the mistake again.
Jan 19, 2009
i am sorry to say that the coins across and chinese challenge are just not going to work for your stage act

they might if you have a screen behind you magnifying your hands but then yo should have to be spot on with the misdirection and skill (which im sure you are)

i am going to say that the others would not work for a stage show uunless you had the big screen showing your hands

this is mainly because of the amount of people
dresscode on the other hand would be perfect !

if you would like some cheap powerful and for the most of it easy stage illusions i would check out andrew mayne he has a fair few great stage illusions :D

maybe if you are more into card magic, go out get your self a set of jumpo cards and do some cool transposition effects like signed card to spectators wallet when they sit back down .... this way everyone can see what you are doing, it adds comical value because of the jumbo cards and it is a great routine when you 'lose' the card and it ends up where ever you want it to :D

you obviosly have the skills to do these tricks and are confident doing them close up but i just don't think they would work for yor scenario.... now i am new to all of this and i may be wrong but i hope i helped in some way

also i do a nice act where i borrow a ring and the whole audience knows exactly what is going to happen and they see it all happening apart from the one spectator who is clueless standing next to you. this is great for a comical routine..... then there is a kicker ending where even tho people who 'thought' they new how it was done are flumexed when the ring ends up inside an egg :

i hope i helped maybe gave you a few tips and ideas :) GOOD LUCK ! :)
Nov 29, 2008
I think I am going to get some sort of camera to get a close up view of the show. I'll talk to them about it. Because honestly I don't have any jumbo cards, or any prop type effects I don't really know any stage effects. Which I articulated to them so I hope everything will work out.
Jan 19, 2009
well i hope this goes well for you ...... let us all know ! we would be very interested in your decision and how the show went ! :D
my friend, if you want to create a small stand up show or even a stage show, then it is essential that you buy the Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. Do not under estimate this book because I have literally use this book to put together a professional 20 min stand up routine, under 10 min. The greatest part of all that is most of the material in the book is pack small, but play big. So, I highly recommend that yo pick this book up and put the routine together.

PS: Most of your tricks listed in your OP will not not work for stage because those are the close up tricks. Therefore, it's wont work for stage.

I hope this helps.

Magically yours
Tricky Devil
Mar 27, 2010
Last year i had the pleasure to watch Rene Lavand in a theater blow everyones mind just with a camera and a screen doing his closeup work and sometimes standing between tricks talking. Amazing.
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