Blog of a Childrens Entertainer - Tricky Toby
THE CLOCK IS TICKING!
It's time to organise your child's birthday party. They have asked for a magician! Definitely it's good to choose a date and get the hall booked first or plan to utilise home space or even the garden (risky in British weather conditions!). Stressed yet? Plan ahead and do not leave it until the last minute!
So, how to choose the right entertainer in the London area? Clown or magician?
Some entertainers fill their show with lots of clowning and that is fine if you need that. But even really small children need something with real magic in it. I was booked for a school fair and there was a clown who followed my act. All I can say is, clowning can be brain-numbingly stupid at times! I must add that there are some brilliant clown acts out there too. I avoid too much silliness as it can lead to chaos! My teaching experience can come in handy here.
Has your child seen an entertainer/magician at one of their friends parties or did somebody come to school and put on a magic show? Did your child like it? Have any good friends hired a successful magician?
How to find an entertainer for your party?
Then it's time to get online and google! First and MOST IMPORTANT- you need a real children's magician or entertainer! Some magicians cater for children as a side-line to their adult magic work. This is often not good enough. There are some amazing magicians out there but kids magic is AN ART! I suggest a local search where you put 'children's magician in London' for example.
Make use of reviews and other resources.
Be sure to check local forums for authentic experiences from parents. For example, a conversation started on East Dulwich Forum about choosing a magician and someone had booked me and was happy to share my name and this sparked off a good discussion about how long a magic show should be and what is a reasonable price. So look locally at forums. Places where people with children chat or review things online are popular resources. For example try netmums which has local online services.
Lots of names will pop up and you will know pretty quickly that a few will not quite fit the bill! Also check for photos or a link to a short movie clip on youtube. Also there are agencies that can supply a magician for a price.
How much does an entertainer charge?
THE PRICE! Now that's a big question! Most magicians will not post a price on their website for a good reason. They want to talk to you as It is vital that you have a conversation to get some first impressions. Then talk about your plans and get some advice. I can definitely offer loads of sound and stress-tested advice on how to organise your party. Regardless of whether you book me or not. If you sense any kind of awkwardness when chatting to potential entertainers over the phone, move on and find somebody else. Trust your gut feeling on this!
How long to book an entertainer for your party?
How long is a magic show? Not a trick question! Generally a magic show booking will be for an hour or two. If you have a group of little ones around the age of three or four, a forty minute show is quite long enough with balloon modelling after the magic bit to finish the hour.
Many parents don't want to organise games as this can be stressful too. I offer to organise games which normally happen after a short break for food and cake cutting. I make sure all the children are involved and nobody feels left out. Again, experience is crucial. But also as a dad myself, I know what games kids like and a limbo competition is fun (as long as I get somebody else to demo the method!).
Be genuine too. We magicians have to cope with a lot which is naturally part of the job. Please ensure that once the booking is confirmed, you don't suddenly decide to cancel at the last minute. I can assure you that most magicians are incredibly sincere and try their best to make the children happy on the day. Most people would not take up this career path if they really understood how tough it is!
You should give yourself a pat on the back, especially if you got it all sorted in time! Being a parent is a wonderful but hard life! Why not plan some great food for any adults who might join you on the day? Just make sure you leave a plate for me after my amazing magic show.
What can Tricky Toby offer?
There's a whole bunch of information on my site. Check out specifics about entertainment for your party, see some of my previous magic shows across London, read some of my blog posts. And of course, please feel free to email or call me at any time! Thanks for reading!
A slightly chilly day but Mum said we can do the show out the back of the house! Little Niho had invited his friends from school and they did have a lovely garden. We waited a little then straight into his magic show.
I like to get the birthday child up straight away if not too shy and things go wrong (on purpose) for the silliest reasons. Applying the magical words can help but not always!
Niho's relatives had travelled a long way so I tried to get them to help too. Brave older brother tried to not laugh. NO CHANCE! they were all really impressed and transfixed and hardly noticed it was not very warm but slowly getting warmer inside!!
I have a cute new little bunny rabbit and he is even smaller than my last helper who is now enjoying his retirement in my garden. Niho was so happy to take photos with rabbit and his friends. Mum had set up a Pinata and I am expert at making sure nobody gets whacked on the head!
As a Kids Entertainer in London I try to give lots of energy and make sure all are involved. The parents were watching and were really enjoying the show. Dad was cooking some super barbecue and I was happy to take some with me after the party. Childrens magic in London. Try me and read my reviews on Google+, netmums and free index. Tricky Toby- that's my name!!
Little Millie and her friendly family welcomed me to her special party. Lovely pink balloons all over the place as pink is one of my favourite colours! Any Childrens Magician in London knows that each party is unique with a special mix of personalities and so I always keep my show light hearted and play along if the children add some funny stuff. That way, if someone calls out I never ask them to be quiet. Kids say the funniest things sometimes!
Millie's aunty Barbara was sitting in the back laughing all the way through the magic which was really funny I must admit. She even tried to join in the games and I promised her a special prize at the end. Not sure what to give an eighty-year-old who seems so fit and healthy!
So all of Millie's friends also enjoyed the event. Mum texted me later:
"Sorry I havent texted you earlier but I would like to say a massive thank you for making my daughters party magical and the kids were still talking about you hours later a massive thank you from one happy mum and daddy." - A happy Mum
As a Kids Magician in London I aim to please. Give me a call and I will do my very best to add some magic to your party!
Intense day with three shows and a tug of war too!
Some days just seem to be very popular. June 15th was one of those in demand days. I try my best to fit everyone in but at the same time must never appear rushed. Now this is a job for a cool head with some pretty cool children's magic. Name -Tricky Toby. Job-special agent in magic!
Remember the name. Tricky. Toby. Arm the satnav. Check.
1. I arrived in Westbourne Grove for Chloe's seventh birthday in an ultra modern flat, decked out in white with her fashionable flowery friends. My pink hat is on order! Well we had some awesome funny fun with magic including the adults too. Mum was snapping away with her big Canon (please send me a few great pics if you can let me post them on my website). Then off to Maida Vale but really St. Johns Wood.
2. To a lovely little adventure playground where a few spots of rain brought a wild bunch of children in for an exciting magic show. Naina was celebrating her 5th and ma n pa were a little unsure how all this magic stuff would go down with a rowdy crowd. Rest assured all went fantastically magically well. Even the parents were glued to their chairs! After some Tricky Toby classic balloon animals and swords, their lunch was ready and a lovely spread was set out. Those extra large olives were greatly appreciated! Mmm!
Still enjoying those olives as I sped down Park Lane towards another magic show in Clapham. I pass my favourite monument in the world- Animals in War- beautiful, respectful.
Special question. HOW TO DECIDE IF A MAGICIAN IS ANY GOOD?
Answer. WHEN THE CHILDREN SIT ON THE BOUNCY CASTLE TO WATCH HIM!
3. Well this is different. A garden party in Battersea with bouncy castle and large group including all the neighbours! Chloe (yes same name, different girl) and brother Jay are seven. Simon the snake makes a return appearance after being out injured for a while as he hides a water pistol in his basket! Keep back! We also made some magic sweets from an ancient recipe (yuk!). All enjoyed the show.
About to go but then was invited to help with a huge tug of war! True story. The rope was about fifteen metres long and our team lost. Grrr! Some super barbecue chicken helped me get over it all. Thanks Helen & friends. A lovely time and not to be forgotten soon.
Not so secret mission accomplished. Water pistol put away. Secret magician Tricky Toby. Call 0796 007 4477. Yes 007!
Although weekends can be super busy for me, sometimes Friday is too. A beautiful afternoon in Chislehurst brought me to St. Nicholas Church hall where one happy family were celebrating their son's fifth birthday. Jake was having a great run around with his pals and Dad had wisely brought an excellent sound system for their music. By the way, I have a fantastic Bose system which I use for all things noise-wise when people are stuck!
We celebrated with some great magic and Jake got really involved and achieved real magical assistant status. He was rewarded with a special certificate allowing him to do extreme magic (under adult supervision!) with the little wand I gave him. I taught everyone a cool trick which works on both parents and any aunt available!
I could see that Grandparents were also loving it too. Thank goodness for cameras and iphones. We had a group photo and Jake could hold the little white rabbit we magiked (my own word!) together. Awesome and that birthday cake was amazing too!
A super party and what a lovely family atmosphere. Thanks for inviting me!