At first glance this question may seem a little ridiculous. After all, if you attend a magic show in Toronto, Canada, or one in Miami, you will expect to be dazzled by an array of magic tricks and illusions which you are unable to figure out. In short, you will expect a magic show to have magic!
Whilst this is certainly true there is more to any show than initially meets the eye:
A magic show needs to be properly prepared, the more dangerous the stunts the more safety equipment will be needed; this must all be put into place and tested prior to any show starting. It is also important to ensure that no member of the audience will be able to see how a trick is done; especially if it relies on any rope or wire. A well prepared magician will sit where the crowd sits to ensure everyone will enjoy the magic show.
Many magicians have a set ritual which they follow when setting up their show; this is actually an essential part of the process. A ritual will ensure that all the tricks are properly prepared and ready to flow nicely into each other. A good magic show will require a wide number of props; these must be organized and arranged in such a way that they are all ready and in position with the minimum of fuzz and without giving anything away.
Preparation is essential but nothing can replace the drama and theatrical performance of the magician. In fact; many magic tricks rely on your eyes being drawn by the magician. Whilst your attention is elsewhere, the magician can prepare something or even complete a trick. This is the oldest and simplest trick in the book and yet, when perfected, it becomes the basis of all other tricks.
Most shows will start with a few simple tricks to capture your attention and make sure you are interested. This section of the magic show will not last long, if it does the magician will lose their audience. This usually builds into an audience participation party of the show. By having a random member of the audience appear on the stage an additional element of credibility can be afforded to the magician and their tricks.
This part also allows the magician to ensure all of the audience believes in the power of their magic.
This is an essential part of any show as it leads into the biggest tricks of the show and the ultimate finale. This is usually the part where the magician undertakes something which appears to be particularly dangerous. In fact, the build up to this point has been about establishing a rapport and trust with the audience. You will find yourself caring about the magician and taking many of the magical elements of any trick at face value. This is essential as the last illusion is always the largest and has the most potential to go wrong. However, with the audience on their side, a magician is able to perform almost any trick successfully.