For the love of magic

Sub­lime il­lu­sion­ist amazes with cards and coins

Weekend Witness - - Ar Ts - ESTELLE SINKINS

SHEER dis­be­lief and cries of “no way!” filled the Spar Drama Cen­tre on Thurs­day when Stu­art Light­body amazed the young Jon­gosi the­atre go­ers with his im­pres­sive sleight­of ­hand skills.

The 30­y ear­old C ape Town­based ma­gi­cian was at Hil­ton Col­lege for the start of this week­end’s The Wit­ness Hilt on Art s Fes­ti­val.

Us­ing noth­ing but a cou­ple of packs of cards, four sil­ver coins, nee­dles and thread, a cou­ple of books by Roald Dahl, who is a favourite au­thor of his, and a sil­ver bell, Light­body kept his young au­di­ence — and the hand­ful of older the­atre go­ers, me in­cluded — com­pletely spell­bound in his sho w Il­lu­sive.

Us­ing v olunteers fr om the au­di­enc e he showed his skills, honed o ver the p ast 18 years, with a serie s of car d and c oin tricks, a painful look­ing nee­dle il­lu­sion and some “psy­chic” vibr ations.

Ban­ter with the au­di­enc e is also a mus t for Light­body, who said that he loves noth­ing more than cre­at­ing “mo­ments that are beau­ti­fully im­pos­si­ble, and some­time s im­pos­si­bly beau­ti­ful”.

His il­lu­sions cer­tainly baf­fle and bam­boo­zle. W atch­ing him, half of me w an­ted t o know how he did the trick s, but the other half was simpl y de­lighted by the magic of it.

Speak­ing t o Week­end Witne ss after the show, Light­body said he was de­lighted with his first Hil­ton Fes­ti­val show and the r eac­tion fr om the y oung au­di­enc e, man y of whom cr owded ar ound him aft er­wards t o ask f or a hug or an aut ograph.

“It will be int er­est­ing t o see ho w older peo­ple r eact,” he added.

Il­lu­sive comes to Hil­ton fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful run at this year’s Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in Gr aham­stown.

“I cre­ated the sho w at the be gin­ning of 2013,” said Light­body. “Since then it’s been to Grahamstown twice, to the Ams ter­dam Fringe Fes­ti­val, the P rague F ringe Fes­ti­val and the Fringe World Fes­ti­val in Perth [Aus­tralia].

NEED T O KNO W Il­lu­sive is at the S par Drama Centr e at 5 pm t oday and 10 am t omorrow. Tick­ets ar e R17 0 at www.hilton­fes­ti­val.co.za “I started cre­at­ing the show on my o wn, but lat er I br ought Tara [Not­cutt, who also di­rects Un­der­mined, another Hil­ton Fes­ti­val must­see] to de­velop the show fur­ther. She helped me t o cre­ate the mood and the the­atre el­e­ment s.”

Not­cutt — di­rec­tor of Three Lit­tle Pig s, … Miskien and Mafek­ing R oad — and Light body clear ly ha ve a great work­ing r ela­tion­ship and ar e about to de­but Light­body’s new­est pro­duc­tion, Dev­il­ish, at the Cape Town Fringe Fes­ti­val.

Asked ho w he came t o be a ma­gi­cian, Light­body said that he sa w some gr eat magic grow­ing up but w as also dr awn to the pro­fes­sion be­cause a child­hood friend was do­ing it.

“I was a bit sh y, so the perf or­mance side of it r eally at­tracted me,” he e xplained.

“I also jus t like magic and I lik e peo­ple ... the hu­man mind f as­ci­nates me. I lo ve what I do and I hope that I’ll be do­ing it for another 50 y ears.”

Light­body, w ho t eaches at the School of M agic in C ape Town, enjo ys watch­ing other ma­gi­cians play­ing in what he calls “the gap be­tween re­al­ity and the imag­i­na­tion”,and among his­favourites at the mo­ment are Bri­tish il­lu­sion­ist Derr en B rown and Americans Penn and Teller.

“Der­ren is not just a t ele­vi­sion ma­gi­cian, he has a great live show, and Penn and T eller ha ve de­liv­ered some of the best li ve theatr e shows that Las V egas has seen, ” he added.

I’ve not been lucky enough t o see those men live, but I did see Stu­art Light body this w eek and he’s a gem. Do your­selves a favour Hil­ton fes­ti­nos, and check out his sho w this week­end.

Il­lu­sive. PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

•arts@wit­ness.co.za Stu­art Light­body will ha ve y ou be­guiled and bam­boo­zled with his sleight­of­hand skill in

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