The art of deception

Published Sep 26, 2011


Magic is just an illusion so sit back and be dazzled. At the recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, magician Stuart Lightbody received rave reviews and a coveted Silver Ovation award (in the comedy category) for his show Superstition, in which he explores the magic behind magic.

Catch him in one of five performances at the Kalk Bay Theatre from October 5 to 8.

When I arrive for our interview at a coffee shop, Stuart Lightbody (his real name) asks me to choose a table. Where would I like to sit, he asks. After we are seated, he asks me to look under my chair. I find his business card stuck there.

How does he do that? Don’t ask me. By the end of the interview, we have half the coffee shop perched around our table. They are captivated by his tricks with cards, coins and other doodads.

Until recently, most magicians claimed that they had supernatural powers and psychic abilities which enabled them to accomplish such feats, notes Lightbody. While there are some who still claim they are supernaturally gifted, he is part of the magic movement which makes no hocus-pocus claims.

“Fundamentally, magic is all trickery and deception and involves sleight of hand and psychology.”

The sooner we get that, the better. Then we can just sit back, enjoy the illusion and gasp and wonder at it all. And that is truly magic.

“My show is light-hearted and entertaining in places, with magic tricks, and in other places I look at modern superstitions and we do thought-provoking demonstrations.”

It is very much about getting people to think and reflect about things that they’ve been told or ideas which have been held up to be true – like astrology, especially the snippets one reads in newspapers, which supposedly tell you what will be happening in your life.

“The show is an interesting paradox. It is a magic show but, on the other hand, it is a criticism of our tendency to jump to supernatural explanations.”

Superstition is Lightbody’s third solo show. The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the best theatrical magicians in the country and when you see him at work, you know why.

He avoids definition

: “Elements of what I do could be deemed as fitting into ‘mentalism’ and other elements into sleight of hand. My classic line is that I study, practise and perform the art of deception as entertainment.”

When not performing, Lightbody teaches at the College of Magic in Claremont.

The Kalk Bay Theatre is an intimate space which is tailor-made for his close-up magic, which feeds off audience participation.

l Tickets cost R115. Book at 073 220 5430 or There are road-works in the vicinity so check out the theatre’s website for details on how to get there. - Weekend Argus

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