Special to the Record
The appeal of magic is universal, according to Matt Johnson, who will fill the Sid Williams Theatre with it Oct. 15.
As a world traveller who has performed in such far-flung countries as Japan, Dubai, Argentina, and Australia, he should know.
“Magic is just one of those things that’s universal,” he said in an interview in an accent that underscores his youth in Sheffield, England. “It doesn’t matter where you go or what language you speak.
“It gets the same reaction wherever you go,” stated Johnson, whose European tour last year included Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.
“When I’m not performing magic, I create magic and teach it to professional magicians, so it was a tour of magic clubs and magic societies in those countries,” he added.
He said his extensive travel for more than 20 years while performing and perfecting his craft plays a big role in his stage act.
“My stage act is very much grounded in a theme, and the theme is kind of the story of my life. I don’t sit there and narrate my story but everything I perform in my show derives from either an experience or a thought or a memory from my life.”
The Comox Valley audience will get a special treat.
“This show I’m bringing to the Sid Williams Theatre is a brand-new show. “Even though I’ve performed parts of it in other places, I’ve never performed this particular show anywhere else.
“This is something I’ve been working on for a couple of years, so this will be the first time. Some things in this show I’ve never performed anywhere before, ever.”
He’s “99 per cent sure” he will perform an underwater escape he’s been practising for five months.
“It’s kind of a tribute to Houdini. I’m locked up and chained up and handcuffed up inside a crystal-clear acrylic box that’s full of 60 gallons of water.
“I’ve never performed it live, so all the training in the world can’t prepare you for performing it in front of an audience.”
Presenting new material for a live audience causes some anxiety, he confessed.
“Performing something onstage in front of an audience that I’ve never performed anywhere makes me quite nervous.
“Some of the stuff I’m doing requires a lot of dexterity. Some of the things I’m doing require a lot of mental training.”
Johnson said his style of Urban Deception differs in presentation from other magical genres.
“As opposed to a magician in top hat and tails … I walk out, whether I’m doing a theatre show or a corporate event or I’m doing a private event, basically come out in jeans and a T-shirt. I’m covered in tattoos.
“It’s kind of a gritty, edgy style. I think it’s the way magic is going. It’s a lot more fresh and exciting.”
His show incorporates magic, sleight of hand, mind reading, the power of suggestion, off-the-wall comedy and audience interaction.
As an actor and magic consultant, Johnson has performed in and worked on many TV shows and films including Secret Agent Man, Taken, 6th Day, Balderdash, Dog Dancing, SnowQueen and the Syfy show Wizard Wars hosted by Penn and Teller, who described his act as “wonderful.”
He was also featured in a Nationwide Insurance TV commercial in which he made a car vanish with hilarious results.
For details about him, visit urbandeception.com.
Matt Johnson performs Oct. 15 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. The 2016–2017 Blue Circle Series is proudly presented by Odlum Brown Limited. For concert details and tickets, visit www.sidwilliamstheatre.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit 442 Cliffe Ave.