ben seidman

Crafty Magician & Funnyman Ben Seidman Performs Online Show for MU Students

Ryan Daine

World-famous magician and unofficial comedian Ben Seidman delighted Manchester University students and faculty with an hour long virtual magic show via Vimeo.

Seidman, a regular guest at Manchester, was slated to perform during the spring semester, but was forced to forgo the planned show following the university’s decision to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Seidman collaborated with the Manchester Activities Council to put on a free virtual show from April 30 to May 3. This was intended for viewers to enjoy and be amazed with his wizardly craft of magic and illusion.

“By now there are lots of us who are running out of ideas to keep the kids and family entertained. Manchester is here to help,” read an official email from the university's alumni office detailing how recipients could join in the magic and view Seidman’s program.

A quick click of a link, the typing of a short passphrase, a bit of buffering and viewers were welcomed with the bright and cheerful face of Seidman. Front and center, Seidman greeted viewers via a pre-taped recording. Seidman continued with a brief introduction, expressing his frustration amid the pandemic and how it has impacted his planned shows not only at MU, but at other schools, clubs, casinos, etc., throughout the nation.

Following the opening remarks and a quick gag trick, Seidman began what constituted the bulk of the first half of the show. He showed clips from various televised and taped shows he has put on, and explaining interesting aspects of each clip, such as the history behind a certain trick being executed, a humorous anecdote surrounding the event, along with other personal bits of information.

Seidman’s clips demonstrated several routines that those who have seen him perform at MU in prior instances are likely familiar with; namely, his now famous pickpocket disappearing act, the reappearing dollar bill, and his classic opener that many are familiar with, where he pulls a solid piece of cloth clean through a microphone stand.

His illusions and tricks are top notch; seeming to bend physics and conventional beliefs with such fluid motion and smooth nature that it seems otherworldly. Viewers can revel in being able to bear witness to his staples from years past, along with Seidman’s energetic humor and wit that he brings to each performance.

Seidman’s presentation moved into its ending phase with him offering viewers the chance to learn a few simple sleights of hand and illusionist tricks to practice themselves and amaze friends and family with. Seidman offered not only jokes and clever quips, but also detailed step by step instructions on how to perform easy yet fascinating capers of the eyes such as making a paper cup "levitate," turning two small coins into one large coin, as well as the classic elementary school gag, shoving a pencil up one's nose, and pulling it out the ear moments later.

Seidman offers meticulous instruction and commentary for each trick, showing viewers slowly how to practice and eventually perfect each move so that they too can amaze family members and do tricks at parties once they have mastered the process.

The show concluded with a few moments of Seidman speaking directly to the camera, addressing viewers to keep their heads and spirits high throughout these strange days we all find ourselves in. He also offered words of good news, stating that he fully intends to begin physically touring again once he is permitted to do so, meaning that he will likely be gracing the stage of Cordier Auditorium for the amazement and viewing pleasure of all those within the Manchester University community.