By George Dixon
Josh Staley is undoubtedly one of Australians top “close up magicians”, a holder of International and Australian magician’s awards.
As I have had the privilege of attending three of Staley’s previous live shows, and was very intrigued to see how his brand of magic would stand up to being close up within a zoom meeting, having cameras and view screens. If that something that interests you, rest assured you will not be disappointed.
Rather than having an audience with only four people around a card table, and others looking on from a close but further distance. We have a zoom performance with forty-plus people who are sitting at home, at the same card table nice and up close up.
Nothing is hidden; you can see the table and Staley’s hands at all times, as he presents a stunning demonstration of close up magic. Each show I have attended has been different; this performance focused on taking “chaos to order.”
Staley’s magic is always 100% engaging through audience participation, direction and selections. Staley provides great dialogue as he delivers various twists and turns, even when it appears that the trick has not worked, it is only a twist to demonstrate the power of magic.
Taking the randomness of chaos, playing cards are shuffled this way, and that way, face up and down, and through the seamless close-up magic become transformed into not only order, but the exact order requested by the audience members directions is beyond belief.
The performance is smooth, and articulated, with nothing hidden, everything happens in what appears to be a random set of circumstances dictated by a different member of the audience each time. It is impressive to witness how everything comes together.
Even on Zoom, (If you change your settings to include group view), you can see the astonishment and gasps of excitement as each section is unveiled.
The younger members of the audience were sitting on the edges of their seats, jumping up with delight, madly clapping their hands, as Staley walks them through an act, with one participant, aged twelve. Just to add to the wonder, Staley changes seven blank cards to cards with his name written on them.
Through magic, and seemingly random audience selections, playing cards transform into order and recognised events with meaning, as one segment morphs into another.
Every segment is handled cleanly, Staley used only one full set of playing cards (except the Jokers). Handling them mainly with fingertip contact, or within viewing distances and physical barriers between the cards, events change cards, and order is maintained.
Staley concluded by bringing all of the random events presented by the names of the participants into a sequential order of events, as a prophetic realisation which was taken from an envelope that was sealed and in view from the beginning of the show.
To top that off, and to totally blow everyone away, the final magic presentation was incredible and stunning. It involved every member of the Zoom audience.
Each member with their video on, using three cards of their own choosing, were asked to group the cards any way they liked, so long as they remained face down. To tare then across in half, keep all of them face down and follow his instructions. The outcome of this segment was to end with two half cards facing down in your hand; and on the count of three, each member was to turn their cards over to see if they matched the two torn cards.
Moments Online with Josh Staley lends itself perfectly to this type of Zoom presentation.
It’s a non-stop, close up magical performance that is guaranteed, to stun, and amaze; it is 100% family-friendly, well-paced entertainment that is magic at its best. The magic acts will undoubtedly leave you, not only questioning “how the”, The skill level is such that you will be talking about this with a smile on you face for some time.
An experience you would not want to miss, and if you’re a person who loves good magic, you will be thrilled to experience the magic that is Josh Staley again.