Usually, during the booking process, when the mom tells me, “I heard a lot of good reviews about you,” I become a little wary. This signals that she has heard positive comments of my show and formed a high expectation of it that may be tough to meet, let alone exceed.
What is helpful, though, is that when she sends the invitation, she makes sure the guests understand I am the party’s main attraction. She says something like: “Please come to my son’s birthday. Bring all your kids, because we hire a) a very funny magician; b) the best magician in the Philippines; c) a magician who does tricks you’ve never seen before.” Something like that. Take your pick.
In short, she builds me up to the stratosphere, which is not a bad thing per se but is not also absolutely good.
When I come on to perform at a party where some buzz has gotten around, the audience receives me warmly, as if I have sunshine in my pocket.
Contrast this kind of reception with the coldness of an audience who hasn’t heard anything about me. Warmth and glow are simply not there. Some work is needed to create electricity and thunder. On the other hand, guests who have heard positive reviews of my show would easily go into applause mode at the very start of the performance, as I make my entrance.
Coming on to a receptive audience, one that allows much leeway for the imperfections of the show and roots for the performer, is the good part of buzz preceding the magician.
The tough part is the extent of work to do to meet their expectation. Since the audience has a preconceived notion of the standard of the entertainment, it wants the performer, at the minimum, to meet this standard. This is a hard requirement, because the performer has no idea how high this expectation is.