Magic is as old as human ingenuity itself. From the simplest card trick to the Trojan Horse, deception never fails to draw fascination. Magicians dare their audiences to rationalise the irrational, stacking the odds against their own favour, leaving onlookers amazed and astounded.
Tricks are about audacity, with close-up magicians taking their magic to the absolute limits.
Unlike their more traditional acts of magic, close-up or street magicians design their illusions solely for audience participation. The magician typically performs within arm’s length, guiding the audience through every step of the act. Every word a magician says, every move they point to the viewer’s face, is all part of a series of mental taunts; a performance where both parties compete to outsmart each other.
The common illusion with all close-up acts is to make the audience feel as if they have an advantage, when in fact, they have already lost the moment they picked a card.
Street magic appears to have revived what was a struggling, setting-dependent industry, shifting the desire to instead engage directly with the audience at a personal level. This more intimate approach to live magic performances led to the introduction of more creative tricks; ones that do not require multiple large props, if any at all.
Live performance organisers from Garston Entertainments Ltd describe how close-up magic opened the door to countless new illusions, with audiences ready to witness and challenge them. The magician’s playbook has long moved past hat tricks and saw boxes, as performers begin incorporating elements as they wish – not as their props allow – ranging from the comedic to the occult.
Close-up magic at least has revived the industry. With no shortage of acts to entertain, surprise and baffle, the audience will keep trying to look closer, even when they are unlikely to find anything. Can you spot the secret to their magic trick?