Stuart Lightbody Conjours Up Memorable Moments At Alexander Upstairs In Cape Town

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 15 June 2016
Category: Features Comments View Comments


Magician Stuart Lightbody has returned to Cape Town after a stint in Prague to present a new show at Alexander Upstairs that features some of his favourite effects and crowd pleasers from his previous theatrical endeavours.

Stuart Lightbody, a graduate of the College Of Magic who now lectures there inspiring the next generation of magicians, is a very busy performer. He usually creates a new theatrical show every 12 to 18 months, often playing around with concepts and ideas at shows that he debuts at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown or at Alexander Upstairs at the Alexander Bar in Cape Town before moving the work to the Kalk Bay Theatre in Cape Town or the Cape Town Fringe Festival, where it's accessible to a larger local audience. Much of the rest of the year he tours these shows internationally at festivals in places such as Prague, Australia, and Edinburgh, where he has won numerous awards and is a crowd favourite.

(Locally he is an award winner too - he's the reigning South African Close-Up Magic Champion and he has previously represented South Africa in Las Vegas and Sweden.)

Stuart Lightbody Conjours Up Memorable Moments At Alexander Upstairs In Cape Town

His nomadic career makes him hard to pin down but this week he is back in Cape Town at Alexander Upstairs with Memorable Moments, which collates some of his favourite effects from the past seven years into a new 55 minute show that also features a few tweaks, a few surprises, and a few new pieces to delight long time fans.

He has intentionally chosen these specific pieces from previous shows to give new audiences a chance to experience moments that otherwise have become lost to the performance archives. The pieces are effects that Lightbody told me he has enjoyed performing the most - they're the ones that have brought him a particular sense of joy and satisfaction. In fact, he went against the advice of his director, Tara Notcutt, and chose not to include a few effects that have been audience favourites but which haven't created, for him, a special kind of moment when he has performed them.

Stuart Lightbody Conjours Up Memorable Moments At Alexander Upstairs In Cape Town

Not that you could tell - one of Stuart Lightbody's strengths as a performer is his ability to craft gentle moments of wonder and delight in whatever he is doing. His affable manner and use of simple objects - a deck of cards, coins, a photograph - put the audience at ease from the moment he begins his show, with nothing but a mug and a teapot, to the dramatic climax that features a shocking premise (for some) that is instead rendered tastefully and elegantly.

For those who fear being focussed upon and selected I noted this seven years ago on my (now defunct) personal blog and it still holds true - he is one of those magicians who puts his audience volunteers at ease. He doesn't put them on the spot, he doesn't make them feel uncomfortable, and he doesn't use them as punchlines to amuse the rest of the audience. He treats them with respect because it's important to him that everyone who attends the show leaves taking a little bit of those moments of wonder with them.

Stuart Lightbody Conjours Up Memorable Moments At Alexander Upstairs In Cape Town

Therefore there's no need to fear being selected. Instead it's a chance to see the magic up close for a moment in the best seat in the house and an opportunity to interact comfortably one on one with this mesmerising performer.

South African magic has been doing particularly well this year with the success of Bryan Miles' show on SABC3 and the launch of the Cape Town Magic Club. We are doubly privileged in Cape Town, due to the presence of the College Of Magic, to have one of the highest concentrations of magicians in the world, as well as more opportunities in one year to see them perform than most people will have in a lifetime, yet many people still haven't gone to see a show.

Change that this week with Memorable Moments - it's a highlight on this year's magic calendar that you shouldn't miss.

Stuart Lightbody Conjours Up Memorable Moments At Alexander Upstairs In Cape Town

Mandy J Watson attended the opening night as a media guest courtesy of Stuart Lightbody.

Memorable Moments, featuring Stuart Lightbody and directed by Tara Notcutt, is running at Alexander Upstairs, 76 Strand Street, Cape Town, until Saturday 18 June 2016. Tickets are R120 at the door or R100 online.

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Tags: #arts_and_culture, #cape_town, #magic

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