Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Stuart Lightbody

and I’m not Telling Lies

stuart The first thing that struck me as I walked into the Arena Theatre at Artscape last night was how un-theatre people the audience was. Theatre audiences are a specific kind of somebody, and I normally recognise or know a few people in the crowd. last night I knew one person, and I had never seen him at a play before. We were there to watch magician Stuart Lightbody’s new show, Telling Lies.

I have seen Stuart at least three times before and I have always marvelled at his skill and this show is no different in that respect. He is a super smooth sleight of hander, and he is super cool and sweet with his patter too. It really is like watching a charming, intelligent, sweet talking schoolboy talk you into buying a sick elephant and believing that you need it more than anything else in the world.

His powers of autosuggestion are superb, and while he glibly glides through the demystification of all things magic and supernatural, and explains trickery, lies and deception, he is busy, gently pulling the wool (or in my case blindfold) over our eyes! I got called up last night, was blindfolded, told to think about a few people (or something), while he spoke to the audience and chose three people with three playing cards. Then, miraculously, he got me to say what the three cards were! I have no idea how he did that. The audience was flummoxed and totally impressed, but not quite as impressed as I was!

That was in the first half. The second half was more complicated, and my friend figured out how he did the final trick. Still, it didn’t take away from this young man’s charm and mastery. He is the real deal, and nothing like those creepy magicians you remember from children’s parties when you were small. He’s on at The Arena for the rest of this week!

Sunday in G’town

Yesterday was seriously long; we had a 10am and 10pm TheatreSports show and I needed to keep myself as busy as I could in between. Hectic.

At 12 I went to see Phillippa Yaa de Villiers in her one woman show, which is mostly autobiographical, called Original Skin. It was during this performance that I was again reminded of the difficulties of festival performing, especially when your piece is small and trying to be poignant and you have what sounded like loud community/protest/drumming theatre in the room behind you. Phillippa’s story is touching, warm and heartfelt, and there were moments when I had more than just a lump in my throat. I just struggled with the direction, which was, dare I say it, boring. The feel of the play is old fashioned, and while there are many moments of genuine loveliness in the text and writing, the show climbs gently onto and sits on an unmoving bus for the most part. I left feeling a little disappointed that my friend’s amazing story wasn’t very well presented.

I wanted to see something at 2pm but I honestly could not find a thing to see. I read the daily schedule about 11 times and went to have some lunch instead. Then, at 4.30pm I went to see The Magnet Theatre’s Every Year Every Day I am Walking, directed by Mark Fleishman and performed by Jennie Reznek and Faniswa Yisa. I am probably one of the last people in SA to have seen the show; it has been everywhere, and all overseas too. I am so happy I finally saw it and it is definitely my Best of the Fest. Of course it bothers me that it is a show that has had to travel and perform everywhere to gather a big G’town audience, and Ugli Bob, you are much on my mind as I formulate new ideas and thoughts around the whole festival shebang. Nonetheless, Every Year Every Day I am Walking was great. A beautiful story, consummately told, with its own original style, flavour and signature. It was absolutely moving, beautiful theatre. This was what I was looking for at the fest. I loved it and I wished I had seen it earlier because I despised this particular (big) festival audience with a passion. The young man next to me had one of those noisy windbreaker jackets on, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t kept falling asleep and dropping his head either forward, back or even sideways towards me. Every time he did this his jacket made those loud shifting sounds. Then, five minutes before the end of the show I heard a noise behind me and a voice I recognised as Simon saying, “Sit down!” These two idiots were trying to leave! They were obviously going to be late for something else they had booked for and were trying to sneak out of the theatre from way at the back, on hectic scaffolding that booms and clangs with every step you take! I wish that was all, but no, the woman in front of me’s cellphone went off, and instead of diving into her bag and switching the thing off she just put her bag down and ignored it. I kid you not. I finally had to tap her on the shoulder and tell her to turn it off. It’s not like there wasn’t the pre-recorded message before the show, virtually pleading with people to find their phones and switch them off! So poor Jennie and Faniswa competed with these two lumps and a cellphone retard in their final, resolution moments and both they and I wanted to kill.

The recession has not affected how people spend money on food and drink here at the fest. I popped into the Long Table at about 6.15pm, (Dulce’s, with Wi-fi was full) and in ten minutes flat, after I had gotten my micro-waved food and sat down, the place had become a zoo, with a queue to the door and tons of people smoking inside. Unbearable. I left, with still some few hours to go before our last show at 10.

Then I hit on a brainwave. I decided to go and see Sleight of Mind, Stuart Lightbody and Bryan Miles doing their special brand of magic. They perform in the same venue as us, so I would just be there, ready for our show afterwards. The venue was filled to the brim with schoolboys. I felt a bit sorry for them because they were desperate to be volunteers at every moment but older, bigger ones were always chosen. This hour long magic show was a delight. Both magicians are slick, cute and charming, and they work fantastically well together, supporting each other and moving seamlessly from one thing to the next. A very cool show, with an amazing newspaper trick at the end.

TheatreSports had had a great show in the morning, but 10pm proved to be a bit of a struggle. We got through it ok, but it wasn’t our best, that’s for sure. And that sums up the festival for me, with a day to go. Not my best, but I got through it ok.

Magical Stuart Lightbody

8 In the hoolymagooly of my crazy life right now I forgot to write about a really amazing show I saw in a properly odd place at an even odder Sunday afternoon time. My dearest friend, who is also the author of toingtoing,celebrated his birthday with a weekend away in Betty’s Bay and on the Sunday afternoon, after celebration lunch, about ten of us moved the lounge furniture around to watch a very intimate version of Stuart Lightbody’s magic show. He is a sleight of hand artist, who goes to great lengths to explain that what he is doing is tricks, and then he blows your mind when he does them.

I must confess, the thought of watching a magic show is quite boring. I remember stinky old men that my mother and auntie called “retired”, with frayed clothes, a battered old top hat, a pigeon, a rabbit (if you were lucky) and countless coloured scarves tied together. Oh and dusty bunches of feathers in a collapsible bouquet.

Stuart is nothing like that. He is young and totally charming. He gets passionate and committed. And his tricks are totally amazing. He is also a natural in front of an audience. He literally had us in the palm of his very sleighty hand.

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