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Review: Discovering Stuart Lightbody’s Art of Magic

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I’ve never really been a fan of magicians. What immediately springs to mind is a 90’s homemade video in which a rather shy yet slightly cheesy person entertains a small group of children with effusive abracadabras and alakazams. Stuart Lightbody’s Illusive swiftly and decisively thwarts this misconception and brings to light the beauty, elegance and artistry of the role of the magician.

Lightbody’s friendly, funny and charming manner quickly establishes a cheerful atmosphere. He goes for the ‘I’m on your team’ approach as opposed to the dark and ominous aura of magicians such as David Blaine and Chris Angel. He even pretends to make mistakes which makes him more appealing to the audience instead of having a know-it-all attitude.  The show I attended was filled with many gasps of sheer amazement at his incredible sleight of hand abilities.

Many of the illusions created make use of a deck of cards. In most of his acts, Lightbody asks members of the audience to join him on stage in order to assist him with the tricks, making sure that everything he does is fair… or at least appears to be fair.

The use of the Kalk Bay Theatre comes in handy to the audience who are then able to keep a close eye on his movements. This makes his illusions seem all the more real as there are no backdrops or over-the-top lighting to prevent us from seeing what is there.

His skill as a storyteller is also considerable.  Keeping magic as his theme, he provides anecdotes on famous magicians of the past, and explains his attempts to mimic their individual styles.  What’s more extraordinary however are his acts of suggestion and his ability to see into the minds of the audience members. This was a definite favourite, leaving audience members racking their brains trying to figure out just how he did it.
Lightbody does more than just fulfill his job description.  We were left  feeling hopeful about the world of magic, opening up sceptical minds to another realm of art.

Lauren Vogt

Illusive took place at the Kalk Bay Theatre and runs until 6 October 2013.

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