Does Anyone Know What These Phrases Mean?

close up magician london

Does Anyone Know What These Phrases Mean?

Close-up magic, table magic, walk-around magic – which type should you ask for?

The short answer is any – they’re all essentially the same thing.

What do you mean that’s not helpful?

Here’s a quick guide to help you when the magician you’re talking to keeps using these phrases and you haven’t the foggiest what they’re talking about.


Close-up Magic

This is a general term that refers to all types of magic done ‘close-up’, performed by the magician to small groups of people.

Close-up magic can be integrated into a variety of settings, whether people are sat down or stood up.

It’s one of the 3 main types of magic you see being done at events – close-up, parlour, and stage.

(Don’t worry – we’ll get to those).


Table Magic

This is close-up magician performed at – you guessed it – tables.

This term is likely to be used if you’ve told the magician that your party guests will be seated at tables for a part of or during the event.

The magician will probably be talking about how they can slightly tailor the tricks they bring along so that they are more suitable performed using a surface.

However, they’re still performing close-up magic and not much else is different.


Walk-around Magic

If your event has guests mostly standing in small groups or milling around the room, then this is the phrase you’ll hear a lot.

Again, it’s close-up magic with a slight emphasis on tricks that can be performed without a table.

You’re probably starting to notice the trend that most of these terms are used by magicians once they’ve heard a bit about the event you’re thinking about booking them for.

It’s mainly to reassure you that they understand the setting, and that they appreciate being told this detail as it sometimes helps them decide what they’ll bring with them.

Mix & Mingle Magic

See ‘walk-around magic’.


Street Magic

This is close-up magic performed in public and usually outside.

There can be an emphasis on ‘cool’ tricks that use fire or other surprising elements to interest the general public as they will mostly be minding their own business, having no intention of seeing an unsolicited magic trick.

The term ‘street magic’ isn’t used much among working magicians as it isn’t really done professionally (unless they’re called Dynamo).

You’ll often see younger magicians engaging in street magic to build up some experience, or perhaps when filming a promotional video.


Parlour Magic

Our first departure from close-up magic is ‘parlour magic’.

This is a magic show performed in front of a small crowd of anywhere between 20 and 100 people, and is suitable for someone who’d like an extra performance, perhaps at the end of a party, or even on its own, to be enjoyed as an audience.

The type of magic will differ quite a bit from close-up, as the tricks need to be suitable for a larger amount of people. A trick with a pack of cards, for example, is unlikely to be visible from the back of the room.

These typically last between 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the magician and how long the event allows for.


Cabaret Magic

This is pretty much the same thing as a parlour magic show, but is done specifically for an audience seated at tables (whereas parlour magic can be performed in most settings with a performance space for the magician).

The types of magic tricks will be the same.


Stage Magic

Think parlour magic, but for a much larger audience.

For this amount of people, the magician will be performing more stage illusions than smaller-scale magic tricks to account for the fact that potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of eyes will be on them.

This won’t be as suitable for parties as there is a lot of preparation and equipment required to set a stage show up.

TV shows, large-scale company events and festivals are the types of events you’re more likely to see stage magic being performed.

The length of the performances can vary, depending on how many acts are going to be on stage.


Feeling slightly overwhelmed?

It’s okay – most types of magic won’t be relevant for the type of event you’re looking to host.

For the majority of social events, including (but not limited to) birthday parties, weddings, holiday parties, anniversaries, family celebrations, office parties and trade shows, you’ll likely only require close-up magic, so that’s all you really need to be familiar with if you’re looking to book some entertainment for your party.

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