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BWW Reviews: Lightbody Delivers Wonder and Glee in ILLUSIVE

Stuart Lightbody

ILLUSIVE starts off as a nifty novelty show, but soon develops into a literally jaw-dropping experience. Written and performed by Stuart Lightbody, the programme of sleight-of-hand styled acts is knitted together by the theme of illusion. The idea is reflected in every aspect of the show: in the tricks themselves, in Lightbody's smooth but simultaneously geeky persona, in the set pieces he tells about other illusionists and in the witty banter he uses as he picks and interacts with volunteers from the audience. Together, these make for an evening of exceptional entertainment.

It is hard to describe the show in any detail without giving away the game. What can be said is that, in ILLUSIVE, Lightbody truly does - as he puts it - fill the gap between reality and imagination, using his quick fingers to manipulate a range of objects. These include the expected cards and coins as well as needles, thread and even a set of paperback books.

The tricks elicit a range of responses, starting off with pleasant smiles which develop into delighted giggles and ending up with amazed moments of silence that are instantly followed by rapturous applause. Nary a dull moment is to be had as Lightbody flies through switches, ditches and - a technique he explains even as he is using it to pull the wool over the audience's eyes - misdirections. The hour-long performance is over before you know it, and it leaves you wanting more.

While a loose and relaxed atmosphere is maintained throughout the show, director Tara Notcutt has pulled things together tightly. A show like ILLUSIVE could lose its polish so easily and rely soley on Lightbody's extraordinary talents, but it never does. Of course, it is Lightbody who is up on stage doing the work and he strikes the perfect tone in his approach to the audience, especially to those individuals who end up on stage with him. (Fear not, those of you who cringe at the idea of audience participation. Even if you are chosen, Lightbody makes things very comfortable for those who cross the great divide.)

Even if "magic tricks" fall outside of your realm of interests, ILLUSIVE will wipe away your scepticism and leave you with a sense of wonder and glee. All you need to do is place the power of your mind at Lightbody's disposal and you can be sure that a fantastic time will follow.

ILLUSIVE runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre until 6 October 2013. The shows start at 20:00, with the doors opening at 18.30. Seating is unreserved. Tickets, costing R90 for the show only, can be booked through the Kalk Bay Theatre website. Guests can enjoy Funki Chef's Meal of the Day before or after the show. Contact Hannah at funkichef@gmail.com for further details.

Photo credit: Cuan Hahndiek/Stefan Olivier.


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