I wrote a sketch about a wizard for my friend Nic to perform in our monthly sketch show at The PIT. At various heightened and tense moments in the narrative, I specify “thunder and lightning”, and, at the height of the drama apparently “flames flare from the Wizard’s hands.”
The problem with writing a line like this, is that you then have to work out how to do it.
I headed to Abracadabra on my lunch break, to see what magic could be reasonably sourced for as little money as possible. “It’s easy!” I told Nic, handing him the bag. “You put the flammable cotton wool into the little pot, put the ring over your finger, then, at the appropriate moment, flick the lighter wheel and the whole thing flares up! Literally, giant flames bursting from your hands!”
Nic is a very polite person, so he just nodded a bit looked vaguely dubious, and promised to practice at home, which he apparently did.
Blue wash of lights. Thunder. A Wizard stands on a mountain top.
Wizard: By the blood of the 9 Kingdoms, by fire and by peril. Heed my staff! AGGGGHHHH!
Flames burst from Nic’s hand. Everybody Ooohed!
Possibly Nic AGGGHHHED a little more passionately than he had in rehearsal, but what of that?
“I put the ring on backwards,” he acknowledged later, safely back in the dressing room. “Now I have no hair left on my right arm.” This is the kind of sacrifice that True Art demands of us, I suppose.
And for my next trick, Rhubarb Gin and tonics
First off, you make the rhubarb syrup.2 cups of chopped rhubarb 3/4 cup of sugar 1/2 cup water juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional 1/2 vanilla bean)
- Cook the rhubarb, sugar and lemon (and split vanilla bean if using) gently in the water for 10 – 15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft.
- Strain through a sieve (or a sieve and a sheet of muslin if you have one / have the patience). If you want a clear syrup, leave the fruit to drain on its own overnight. If you don’t mind a bit of cloudiness, press down on the fruit to extract as much juice as you can. (the leftover fruit is great stirred into yogurt, BTW)
- This syrup will keep for a week in the fridge.
1 shot of gin, 1 shot of rhubarb syrup. Muddle together in a glass. Add a handful of ice. Top up with tonic water. Garnish with torn mint leaves.