I find that alot of wanna be stage/parlor magicians always think that buying the biggest illusions or effects are the key to a great show.
Thats farthest from the truth. Some of the best shows I've ever seen (Bill Mccomb, Whit Hayden and Gazzo) don't have large illusions. Its the performance.
I personally don't do a show with a trick that costs over 100 dollars. But the show is great and I've always received nothing but praise.
This leads its self into all types of magic as well. Not just Stage. Wanna be close up performers think that they have to do all these crazy slights and card manipulation. But real performers know that its the story, presetnation, interaction and connection with the crowd that gets you tips, gigs and applause.
Yes, I agree. You don't have to spend a hundred or more dollars on a trick to have a great show. Most of my tricks are under a hundred dollars and they've been successful shows.
But, as David Copperfield and others have shown, tricks in the hundreds and thousands of dollars are also successful (and often, the most successful, but not all the time).
But I must add that while I agree that the presentation, etc... helps get you noticed (a reputation), so does the trick if it is really great. In fact, for me, the trick (magic) is #1 in my shows. I make sure the trick stands out with a routine that accomplishes this.
I want people to remember me through the magic, but a proper routine significantly helps me accomplish this.