Take a moment in your evening to be surprised. Josh Staley deciphers Moments in Time, in his funny and interactive magical show for all ages.

There’s no acrobats, laser light shows or women cut in half, just a comedic magician, decks of playing cards, everyday props and an intrigued audience in the Secret Room at Circus Oz.

Staley’s humour engaged the audience immediately, none more so than the wide-eyed people in the front row. He included the entire full-house audience and directed all to find ‘mystery’ sealed paper bags placed randomly under the seats. One man found a bell under his seat and Staley told him to ring it anytime during the show.

The quirky magician warmed up the audience with traditional tricks. He shuffled a pack of cards, asked four people to each pick a card, collected them, replaced them in the deck, re-shuffled the pack and splayed out the deck on a presentation table to easily locate all four cards in seconds.

Close up tricks are difficult to perform at the best of times. Staley commanded the small performing area and invited some members of the audience to sit or stand beside him to try and detect his slight of hand. All the while, pieces of fruit provided peculiar and unpredictable comic relief as he injected lighthearted anecdotes and props to keep the tricks flowing.

Staley gives us his modern take on obvious moments in time and space that drew gasps of joy from the children and adults. He handed an obliging woman a Rubik’s cube. He solved the cube in moments and asked her to write her initials on the white-sided face in permanent marker. Then she was instructed to stand, face the audience and scramble the cube behind her back. She handed him the cube of mixed up colours, he placed it inside a sealed up paper bag on the table.

A short while later, Staley retrieved the solved cube from inside the bag. The catch; it was the same cube with the woman’s initials in her handwriting, inside a glass jar! He asked the woman to inspect the jar; the snug fit meant the cube could not be removed from the jar without breaking the glass.

Staley explored the theme of illusory moments in time with a balancing act. No, not himself, with household objects. His attempts to change the pace with the art of illusion lagged a little. I’m not sure whether this trick and other perceived mistakes were deliberate to distract the audience and keep us off guard. All the same, the sixty-minute show flew past in the blink of an eye and he delivered a multitude of tricks that induced more gasps, smiles and laughter.

Not giving away too many spoilers here, bar a precise ring of a bell. Earlier, the man in the audience decided to ring the bell he’d found under his seat. Staley asked the audience to note the time and he wrote it on a prominently displayed whiteboard. In the latter part of the show, Staley asked another person to hand in the last mystery bag from beneath her seat. The shocked audience saw Staley produce a folded up photo of his digital alarm clock with the identical time.

Josh Staley leaves the audience participants with playing card mementoes’ and everyone with delightful memories of moments in the Secret Room.