Magic and feats — some involving swords and ping pong balls — abound at First Night Portsmouth | A&E

PORTSMOUTH — The place else however at First Evening Portsmouth are you able to have a good time New Yr’s Eve with a sword swallower and a person who catches pingpong balls along with his mouth?

Roderick Russell, who lives in Burlington, Vt., was born in Portsmouth. He mentioned his private curiosity in pushing limits as a human being bought him into his trademark expertise — sword swallowing and thoughts studying.

He has been honing his sword-swallowing act for the reason that 1990s. He skilled on his personal after which reached out to Thomas Blackthorne in Italy for assist in mastering the death-defying stunt.

Russell mentioned on Monday that folks don’t take into consideration the bodily obstacles that go into sword swallowing.

“The esophagus may be very straight, however it’s not what I wish to name sword-straight. As a way to get the sword into my physique and all the best way down into my abdomen, I truly need to form of transfer a lot of organs out of the best way, and I’ve to try this with the sword,” Russell mentioned.

However Russell’s private love is thoughts studying, which takes up most of his time on the stage. He makes use of utilized psychology and admittedly fortunate guesses to take the viewers on a journey that the entire household can get pleasure from.

“I’ve had success with about middle-school age and up. Excessive schoolers like it. Youngsters completely go loopy for it, and the adults completely recognize it as a result of it’s geared towards them,” Russell mentioned.

Barbara Massar, govt director of Professional Portsmouth, which organizes the First Evening occasion, says she seems ahead to Russell’s present this yr.

“He’s actually fascinating, and he’s an enormous draw. The one factor that you must know is as soon as he begins, the doorways have to be locked,” Massar mentioned of the sword swallowing, explaining that he can’t be distracted.

Russell might be acting at St. John’s Fellowship Corridor at eight, 9:15 and 10:30 p.m. on New Yr’s Eve.

Massar can be wanting ahead to that includes Michael Trautman, often known as “The Ping Pong Man,” who may also be at St. John’s at 5 and 6:15 p.m.

“He comes very extremely really helpful for younger individuals,” Massar mentioned of Trautman.

Trautman, who lives in Portland, Maine, mentioned he final carried out at First Evening in Portsmouth eight or 9 years in the past, and he’s completely satisfied to be again.

Trautman went to varsity and thought he wished to be a lawyer, however mime and magic captured his coronary heart within the 1970s, and he has by no means regarded again.

Trautman mentioned he loves the joy of dwell crowds.

“It’s a dwell efficiency, with a dwell viewers. Something can occur and something does,” Trautman mentioned. “I’m by no means uninterested in performing.”

Trautman’s signature “bullet catch” with a ping pong ball is a family-friendly model of the basic magic trick. He travels along with his present all around the world, bringing his act to France, Italy, Germany, China, Japan and Korea.

There are quite a few free exterior actions throughout First Evening, together with a fireworks show at 7:30 p.m. at South Mill Pond.

Nonetheless, to see Russell and Trautman, First Evening members will want an admission button that offers them entrance into indoor venues.

Buttons are $25 on the day of the occasion for adults and $three for kids underneath the age of 12.

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