I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
Pick and mix your magic with a World Champion
Joshua Jay is one of the fantastic line up of magicians of all sorts in this 10th year of the Melbourne Magic Festival. He is only at Northcote Town Hall for a few days, so get in quick or you could miss your chance to see one of the world's best close magic magicians.
A master of prestidigitation, Jay takes us through an array of traditional - and the occasionally unusual - feats of sleight of hand. Jay is not just a student of magic though. He creates his own tricks and the evening is scattered with original illusions and auteured close magic.
Jay is considered the world's best close magic artists and I wondered how that would translate to a room with such a large seating bank. I needn't have worried though. Jay worked close to the audience for the most part, and for some table card tricks he used the same technique Puppetry of the Penis use and has a camera projecting the minutiae onto a large screen for everyone to enjoy.
The art of illusion rests in the ability to distract and Jay has a myriad of techniques which begin with his incredibly relaxed, best friend air of conviviality which had us all relaxing. It is hard to be alert when you are relaxed, so with fingers and hands moving at the speed of light whilst he recites gentle rhyme and tells intimate, warming tales he just kept surprising us, even though in this day and age most of us would have an idea of what is happening.
It is this sense of unexpectedness and continuous surprise which Jay nurtures and builds on so well. He has written thirteen magic books, is a World Champion, holds a Guinness World Record and has fooled Penn and Teller, so there is no arguing he is a master of his craft. Whilst he doesn't have anything to prove, Jay just kept reminding us again and again why he is a top draw magician.
Jay also knows how to work the crowd and make us all feel we are a part of his world. Unlike other magicians, he brings few of his own props preferring to borrow from the audience to prove there is nothing fake going on. Whilst his work is illusion it is absolutely real space and real time. Speaking of time, Jay even manages to get us all time travelling and I won't tell you what this man can do with and M&M!
The coup de gras delivered to the non-believers at the end of the show leaves absolutely no doubt that this man can do things which are beyond most mortals. In a trick he created himself and which made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, Jay delivers the 11 card version of 'Pick Any Card'.
Go and see the show and then learn from the master at his lecture on 8th July. It is not often you get to learn from one of the world's greats so get in now while you can.