Whether it’s a signature move – like Greg Gelb learning how to rap and dance and do magic at the same time – or a full-blown extravaganza involving all the props, smoke and mirrors, every magical performer has something special up his sleeve which consistently wows the audience.
Feats of the mind are just as impressive: mentalist Brendon Peel says his most spectacular effect is when he attempts to predict the lottery on stage. This is something we all wish we could do, but it’s a lot more complicated than filling in the form with your lucky numbers. “A lot of calculations – and calculated risk – goes into making this possible,” explains Brendon. “There have been times it hasn’t worked out exactly according to plan (due to the nature of the odds of the experiment) but generally speaking this is something I have put the most amount of time and energy into in terms of effects in my repertoire.”
From the mental to the physical, Glenn McMeeking (aka Glendini The Escapologist), says he really enjoys demonstrating his mailbag escape as it is visual and ‘in your face’. “I am secured with various restraints from neck to hands to feet and climb into a mailbag which is secured with a bolt and two padlocks,” he explains. “I have to escape the inner shackles and release the leg irons and then attempt to escape from the locks outside the bag.”
“The audience gets to witness me escaping right in front of them without me being behind any screens and they can hear the shackles and chains falling to the floor from within the mailbag. When I finally escape (usually within two to three minutes) I literally step up and out of the bag leaving the audience in disbelief that this was possible.”
For Johannesburg-based magician, Chad Spade, getting a strong reaction from his audience is all about keeping his eyes open – literally. “When I think about the effect that gets the most “ooohs”, “aaaahs”, gasps and screams, it would have to be when I swallow a length of cotton thread and then visibly and slowly pull it out from my eye”. “I love performing it because of how real it is,” says Chad, “… and my wife still can’t watch whenever I perform it!”
But perhaps the most spectacular illusion we could all relate to is described by Greg Gelb as “looking like I have my s**t together”. His words, not ours, although most of us probably feel like that on a daily basis!