Each year a motley band of dark initiates gather in Whitby for Doomsday. Just in case you don’t know, Doomsday is the annual gathering of all that is bizarre, strange and weird in magic(k) and beyond. In its sixth year (I’ve been lucky enough to attend all of them), it stands out as being an incredible space for sharing ideas and watching unique performances. This year has to go down as a classic and a big shout out to Dan Baines of Lebanon Circle for making it happen!
The event traditionally begins on Friday evening and this year was no exception as Doctor Diablo treated us to his Carnival Macabre. This is sideshow at its best and a great way to kick off Doomsday. The Saturday brought us a heady selection of performances, lectures and discussions. We started off with Todd Landman and ‘Mystery Boxes’, Todd’s work is a masterclass in erudite, meaningful magic. Each moment carefully scripted and embodying a rich history of philosophical discouse. This was followed by Stuart Burrell talking about the Dark Origins of Escapology – this was very much a small vignette into Stuart’s work and I would love to know more. Then came Prof BC At the Heart of the Tale, here we were let in on how investigative haunting events are managed by the magician as facilitator. We learnt a great deal about character, pacing, shaping and revealing. A full evening with Prof BC must be an extraordinary event. Following this was Voodoo Mick The Singing Psychic, and awesome piece of programming how he channelled us to all correctly sing-along I will never know!
After lunch we had Lothar Malmberg present Echoes, an excellent framing for his work that allows him to perform meaningful bizarre and reconcile it with his own spiritual journey. Beautiful, well thought-out, gentle stuff. Lars Ruth then treated us too Arcanum Mentis – Secrets of the Mind – it was top-notch mentalism. He was followed by Oskar Hejll with Cabinet of Curiosities – Vampires – this was a fascinating lecture on vampires in folklore and corpse ghosts. It was a delight to see some the objects from his collection.
The evening portion of the event began with a performance from the Master Bizarrist Roni Shachnaey his performances are always a joy to behold. Nick Brunger followed with Strange Tales from the Darker Side it was rich, well-performed storytelling. A change of pace with Tracy Wise and Crime Scene Illusion a unique application of magic and CSI – original and well worth catching if you can. Now, no Doomsday would be complete without the genius of Brian Maxwell The Travelling Werewolf Show has to go down as one of his best! We finished with Iain Jay’s terrifying glass-walking as excellent end to and excellent day.
So that was the line-up, but the real winner for Doomsday is the collegial atmosphere, and the amount of interesting, provocative and useful sharing of thoughts and ideas. So many like minds in one place, sign me up for next year!