19 June 2013

[Guest post] Steve Cohen Performs at Luminato

The following is a guest post from Ian Crawford.


For years I have wondered what it would be like to attend one of Robert-Houdins' Soirée Fantastic.  Steve Cohen brought the essence of Robert-Houdin to life last night at his Luminato performance in historic George Brown House in Toronto.  First you must understand the setting.  George Brown House is a national historic site, the home of a father of confederation and founder of the Globe newspaper.  The Edwardian house has been perfectly restored to its former glory and is the ideal setting for a performance that celebrates parlour magic.  And Steve Cohen is one of the few magicians with the presence, experience and passion to bring the parlour magic experience to near perfection.

Steve performed a mix of classic magic and mentalism that honoured past masters while acknowledging a twenty first century sensibility.  A lifetime of study, 16 years of performances combined with an engaging intelligence and perfect diction makes Cohens' performances ideal for the Luminato audience.  He expected an intelligent audience, and the tickets even suggested that suitable dress was "cocktail attire".  In return Cohen performed 90 minutes of witty, engaging magic.  He was also suitably attired in a modern morning suit with yellow waistcoat and aqua tie.

Cohen's magic was direct, simple, elegant and completely fried many of the magicians and all of the rest of the audience of more than 60.  Beginning with a multiple card selection, he immediately engaged his audience.  He invited the back rows to stand and others to come and surround him while he performed some coin vanishes culminating in a solid, real brick appearing under his hat.  Appropriately, it was a reclaimed brick.  He performed a classic linking finger rings with style and grace and engaged the audience with some predictions about the inscriptions inside the rings.

One of Cohen's trademark tricks is based on Hoffman's Think a Drink.  While performed part way through the show, this could have easily been the closer.  Five different drinks were predicted, poured and enjoyed by audience members, the last being poured by a volunteer.  Cohen went out of his way to acknowledge and thank the volunteer for dressing appropriately, nice touch.  His message was clear that an evening out should be an experience for all, in keeping with the setting.

Cohen finished his set with a map prediction and then went into some mentalism using billets and an unusually large journal.  The mix of magic and mentalism was clearly a salute to Robert-Houdin, and Cohan engaged his audience constantly.

For his finalé, Cohen asked the audience to come closer and gather round to watch as he performed what I can only describe as a a two deck Triumph.

If you missed Cohen, you can always catch him in New York at the Waldorf Astoria in Chamber Magic.

Toronto is blessed to have a magic benefactor in the Slaight family who sponsored the evening.  And David Ben and Julie Eng of Magicana should be thanked for bringing some of the best magic to Luminato year after year.  Together they have elevated magic to a respectable place.  Robert-Houdin would have been proud.

Ian Crawford


Thank you Ian for guest posting at Canada's Magic!

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