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Melbourne Magic Festival Reaches a Decade



This July marks a significant birthday for all things trickery and illusion with the 10th Annual Melbourne Magic Festival coming to our shores – or at the very least, our pavements.

Melbourne loves a good festival whether it be Wine and Cheese, Comedy, Mind Body & Spirit, Truffles, Drag Queens or even Chocolate. So it’s no surprise we are currently seeing anticipation levels approaching those of Tony Abbott’s fall from grace, or the legalisation of gay marriage – we’ll get there Australia!

The Melbourne Magic Festival kicks into action on July 3 at the Northcote Town Hall, running through to July 15. And as well as 60 local magicians, the festival includes a range of special guests from overseas including E G Lee from South Korea, Dani Da Ortiz from Spain and Joshua Jay from the USA (yes it rhymes, people).

In 2016, the Festival broke the world record for the longest ever magic show, with 20 magicians collaborating to provide more than 72 hours of non-stop magic! The previous year, Wayne Houchin perpetuated the stereotype that all Americans are crazy by hanging from his feet from a crane 100 feet in the air, while escaping from a straight jacket.

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Image: from event website

It's anyone’s guess what 2017 will bring, but one thing’s for sure, there will be plenty of amazed audiences and a whole lot of gaping mouths!

A couple of shows that have caught our eye come from two Melbourne magicians, one young and one not so young.

Nicholas J Johnson is known in the industry as the “honest conman” and has been uncovering the secret of how to cheat, lie and swindle…without getting caught! He has over 20 years’ experience in the trickery game, and in that time has become an award winning magician and best-selling author.

"I love the festival”, Nicholas stated in a recent chat. “Magicians don't often get to work with each other and so it's a pleasure to be able to join together to create magic as a team."

His 2017 show, The Confidence Artist, is basically a crash course in con artistry. Be enthralled as Nicholas shows why people still fall for the oldest tricks in the book, and provides tips that you can easily use on your own mates. For those of you who missed the Comedy Festival, this show is sure to deliver plenty of laughs!

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Another performer making waves is Bayside magician Josh Staley. At only 20 years, he has already performed in 4 previous Melbourne festivals and won the Australian Junior Champion of Close Up Magic.

Like Nicholas, he integrates comedy into his shows, and is very passionate.

“I just want to perform; magic is close to my heart but I like to make people laugh too”, Staley said.

“Magic is about creating a moment in time, where something truly impossible takes place, that you'll never forget witnessing.”

At 9.30pm each night, the festival reaches its peak with The Best of the Magic Fest. Hosted by Nicholas, it features an array of both local and international magicians doing their thing, and is a great way to get up close and personal.

So drop your hat (or pull a rabbit from it) and get on down to the Northcote Town Hall this July!