The quaint market town of Beccles, Suffolk, looks like a village from a bygone era, so it’s only right that it play host to a magician with a similar taste for the trappings of yesteryear.
In April, Gerry Hatrick, “The Victorian Conjuror,” and his lovely assistant Gladys, will be returning to Beccles Public Hall to perform their show, “A Cavalcade of Wonders.”
The event promises an array of family-friend mysteries, tricks and Victorian-era “jiggery-pokery.” For maximum authenticity, be sure to work a 16-hour shift at the local textile mill and infect your children with cholera before the show.
“This new production, with its charming Victorian setting, embraces all the excitement and nostalgia of entertainment in the Victoria era,” explained a spokesman for the venue. “Come along and bring the family for an Easter holiday treat and enjoy an evening of magic, comedy and intrigue.”
A Cavalcade of Wonders starts at 7:30pm on Saturday the 14th of April. Tickets are on sale now and cost £9.00 plus a small booking fee. Children’s tickets are £5.00.
John Nevil Maskelyne is one one of England’s most notable magicians and ardent skeptics. His lifelong feud with the Davenport brothers, a pair of fraudulent spiritualists from the States, is the stuff of legend. But, as The Magic Circle explains, not only was Maskelyne a master magician, professional watchmaker, groundbreaking author and gifted inventor, he was also indirectly responsible for a British term for relieving oneself that persists to this very day.
One of Maskelyne’s many inventions was the first mechanical toilet door toll lock. The device required the user to deposit a penny before they could deposit the contents of their bladder, leading to the popular euphemism for urination, “to spend a penny.”
While Maskelyne may have invented the first mechanical pay toilet, the concept had been tried as early as 74AD, when Roman Emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, tried to charge citizens to use Rome’s public toilets. He was roundly mocked for the decision by critics, to whom he responded with the now famous phrase, “Pecunia non olet,” or, “money does not stink.” Maskelyne may have felt the same way.