The one, the only Fielding West

I can’t remember quite when I first met Fielding but it seems like a couple of lifetimes ago! I got a call from Ron Wilson that there was a very funny magician playing the Castle and I should check him out, as I would really enjoy his show. I did and I did.

The first time I met Fielding was in Lake Tahoe a couple of years later. I was appearing in a review at Harrah’s and Fielding was playing at the Casino across the street (Harvey’s, I believe) in another review. It was a showroom such as I’d never seen before in that it was an open working space located right behind the bar.

I took one look at the performing area and decided it was one of the toughest I’d ever seen. Fielding performed his show with an enthusiasm and vigor that kept every bit of focus on him in spite of the various distractions. It was impressive.

I have seen Fielding work many times since and he has never lost those endearing qualities. He can always win over an audience instantly with his charm and good-natured humor. However what you don’t always spot at first glance is how well thought out and executed his magic is. The other secret to Fielding’s success is the way he always adds originality to the mix when he devises his routines.

Whether he is battling an unseen tiger, avoiding bricks from a ceiling he has apparently destroyed or changing magically exchanging clothing instead of places with his assistant; chances are that if you see Fielding doing it you won’t see anyone else doing it. His visual comedy and magical sight gags are always original and ‘of the wall.’

All my favorite comedy magicians Fielding West also includes some really first-rate magic into his comedy mix. You won’t find anything sloppy in his show or in his thinking. Recently Fielding has joined the list of pros that are sharing their knowledge with the magic world by lecturing and via DVDs.

There is much to learn by studying his techniques. I recently watched a video where he shared his handling of the torn and restored newspaper (OK the Enquirer!) and was impressed not only with his attention to detail but in particular with the way he set up the reason for having a newspaper in the first place. Quietly he placed the entire effect into a naturalistic setting by the way he introduced the newspaper in the first place, much as Robert Harbin did in his classic handling of the trick, of course being Fielding the set up was funny as well as being logical.

I recently watched Fielding’s latest DVD; ‘How to be the life and soul of the party’ and it was great. There is no chance of being accused of unfair advertising here. It contains a very cool collection of tricks, gags, stunts, and bits that arm a performer to be able to entertain and amuse at a moments notice.

There are hundreds of DVDs that just teach tricks but just doing a 4 ace routine certainly won’t make you the ‘L & S’ of the party; in fact some of them might speed up the demise of the occasion. Here is a collection of items that are fast, fun and will leave the party guests aware they have been in the presence of a true entertainer. Check out this video because it is stunts and bits like this that result in bookings!

Fielding works non-stop and is one of the most commercial performers on the scene. Next time you have a chance to watch him perform take the chance to look under the surface of the laughs and analyze the thought and attention to detail that is the heart and soul of his work.

~ by Nick Lewin on January 7, 2010.

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