What is a Cabaret Magician, or cabaret magic for that matter?

Cabaret (noun)

A form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue, which might be a pub, a casino, a hotel, a restaurant, or a nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience, often dining or drinking, does not typically dance but usually sits at tables. The performance is usually (but not always) oriented towards adult audiences and of a clearly underground nature.

Well, there you have a nice dry definition of what cabaret is, though it barely encapsulates the incredible energy of a cabaret show. Performing magic in a cabaret show is how I learnt to perform. I loved doing my stage and close-up shows for clients, but cabaret magic was always my favourite to entertain people with.

The difference between a “normal” magic show and a cabaret magic show is not immediately obvious, and many people would be hard-pressed to really point the exact difference. While subtle, these tiny differences can result in a wildly different outcome. Cabaret magic has that extra “je ne sais quoi”, a bit more flair, flamboyance, and silliness without roving into the realms of clowning. No disrespect to clowning, that is a difficult art form and has its place in cabaret, just not the classic image that comes to mind when we think of clowns.

What sort of thing can I expect from a cabaret magician?

When performing a cabaret show, you can expect your magician to be larger than life, and while that is true of most magicians, everything is often dialled up to 11. While your gala or wedding magician is there to complement the event and elevate it, a cabaret magician is there to steal the show, to fill the room with energy and lift the spirits of everyone in the room in a unique way.

The reference in the definition to an “underground nature” is often conveyed in the storytelling that comes with the performance. Or the performance may lean more into the flamboyance and risqué side of things. The show I was trained in involved three magicians, five dancers (who wore little, but enough not to be inappropriate) and a singer. There were sensual acts, with incredible dances, tongue in cheek acts with plenty of innuendoes and then pure comedy acts.

A cabaret magician will often blend all of this, perhaps flirting with audience members where appropriate, never taking themselves too seriously, and always entertaining with their own unique take on the art form.

One noticeable difference between a cabaret magic show and another magic show is the props the magician will use. They are highly likely to use bigger, colourful, and flamboyant (there’s that word again!) props that stray away from the more classical things you would expect to see in a show. Which is to say nothing of the outfits they may be wearing, extravagant comes to mind here!

Is it suitable for all ages?

It can be. Some cabaret acts delve a little close into burlesque, and that is of course not appropriate for everyone. For the most part, though, cabaret is meant to be for everyone and cater to everyone’s tastes without crossing any lines.

As with booking any act, a discussion with the artist can ensure that they perform at a standard that suits your event, so be sure to have that conversation and ensure you get the show that your event will benefit the most from.

How can I incorporate a cabaret magician into my event?

Depending on the performer, all they may need is an open space to perform where everyone can see them. At most events, a dance floor is more than sufficient, at a larger event a stage is a huge benefit. Many cabaret magicians know their way around the sound and lighting they need for their show, that is if they don’t have their own PA system as it is.  

Why should I book a cabaret magician rather than any other kind of magician or performer?

That all comes down to personal preference. What is the event your having, and would they make a good fit? Cabaret magic is always a phenomenal fit when you have a wide age range, as I mentioned, it caters to everyone while still being fun and engaging to all parties. Suppose you are looking for some after-dinner entertainment, perfect. Cabaret magic is exactly the ticket you are looking for. If you want a kids magician for their birthday party, it might not be quite the right fit, that isn’t to say it won’t be, you just might want to go and find the right kids magician (not me I'm afraid)!

Cabaret magicians are often used to performing without speaking, making them a multilingual performance. They can also handle any crowd and anything that crowd can throw at them, so they can be perfect for a group of people who have never met or when you just don’t know who to expect in the audience.

Really, the best thing you can do is get in touch and we can work out together if a cabaret magician is the right sort of act for your show!

I look forward to hearing from you.

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