AUTHOR Malcolm Gladwell reckons it takes ten thousand hours to achieve mastery over something. That’s a full working week, every week for almost five years. Solid hard graft.
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Royal Lyceum Theatre
Watching the Edinburgh International Magic Festival Magic and Variety Gala Show on Friday night, what strikes you most is the dedication these performers have to hard work and showmanship. Underneath the clownish, comedy veneer of a magician lies the heart of a dogged perfectionist.
The opening acts, Max Guito, R Paul Wilson (pictured) and a gentleman who can only be described as the Norman Bates of illusion, Rob Zabrecky, all featured cheeky riffs on sleight of hand. To bamboozle an audience with such quick paced switches, particularly Guito’s CD swaps, in such an assured manner, however, must have taken many years practice.
Best known of the trio Wilson, who writes and presents for The Real Hustle, tapped in well to the audience’s natural curiosity about how tricks are performed by leading them through examples of magician’s common diversionary tactics, until he sat down with an audience member and a camera to track his hand movements and performed a seamless card switch that will have sent many enthusiasts home to spend the weekend working out the mechanics of such a seemingly simple, yet devilishly complicated trick.
During the second act, the action paused to present the festival’s Lafayette award, in absentia, to legendary magician The Great Tomsoni, or Johnny Thompson, who has mentored and influenced many of today’s most famous illusionists.
Closing the Gala with a melancholy yet mesmerising set involving falling petals and ping pong balls, renowned South Korean magic professor Lukas left the audience with a host of questions and a good idea of what they might be able to achieve themselves given 10,000 spare hours.