An Interview with John Kimmons

How did you get started  performing?
I had a magician for my sixth birthday party and  decided then and there that I would like to work as an entertainer. I  became good friends with Edwin Hooper, founder of the Supreme Magic Company and  he gave me a lot of advice and encouragement. I did my first paid show at the  age of 15 ( A birthday party for a seven year old girl) and I've never looked  back! My mum still wants me to get a real job, though!

What is the most exciting reaction 
you have ever had in a performance?

There have been some great moments. In  Chesterfield a little boy came out to help with the show and chatted very  enthusiastically to Charlie (your Willie the Kid). I thought nothing of this  until his mother came up to me in tears and told me he suffered from autism and  was usually very withdrawn. It was the first time he had ever joined in at a  party.  Although I don't want to sound like a total  sycophant, my favourite part of the show is usually when the drawing board first  speaks - I have had people literally fall off their chairs!

What does a typical show  include?
Short answer: I usually perform a 50/50 blend of magic and  ventriloquism. Charlie (Willie the Kid) is my main character. I use two other  puppets in the show (usually Vern and the talking book) plus the drawing board.  The show lasts sixty minutes.  Long answer: This year's family show (Kimmo & Friends  2000) is a blend of magic and ventriloquism. I spend the first half of the show  waiting for my assistant Charlie (Willie the Kid) to turn up. I receive a phone  call from him saying he will be late and decide to pass the time with a little  magic. I introduce my spell book (your small book puppet) and he teaches us the  magic words to perform the first couple of tricks. Another puppet routine  follows (usually Vern, Possum or Bulldog) and then a magic trick with two  volunteers from the audience. Still no sign of Charlie- so I draw a picture of  him on my drawing board 'so the kids can look out for him'. The picture comes to  life and he's extremely cheeky so we end up erasing him. Next I produce a live  rabbit and then make him disappear. He is supposed to reappear in a box at the  other side of the stage but when I open it out pops Charlie - large as life and  more cheeky than ever! After a longer vent routine he leaves and a couple of  kids assist with the reproduction of the rabbit, putting everything right at the  end.

How do Axtell Puppets help your  work?
I discovered Axtell puppets at just  the right time. I desperately wanted to add something new to my act but couldn't  find anything to inspire me. I took one look at your creations and immediately  knew the direction I wanted the show to go in. I now own 8 Axtell characters (9  & 10 are on the way to me!) and bookings are through the roof! People will  call and ask for characters by name - Everyone seems to have their own  favourite! I have also developed two new school shows using your puppets and  they really seem to help get the message accross to the children. I cannot thank you enough for the life you have  injected into my business. Nowadays I love going to work even  more! 

John  Kimmo Entertainments - Professional Family  Entertainment  E-Mail: jkimmo@tinyonline.co.ukKimmo and Kompany

John Kimmons, Kimmo Entertainments, 67 Coniston Road Dronfield Woodhouse Dronfield S18 8PG

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