Review: Master of Delusions: False Profits (Master of Delusions and Anywhere Festival)

A humorous hour of misdirection, miracles, and magic.

Aaron Ducker brought together magic and stand-up comedy to present Master of Delusions: False Profits, an hour-long show that focused on debunking conmen and charlatans through the ages, all while performing a series of impressive magic tricks.

From Jim Jones and John Edward to Queen Elizabeth I’s occultist, information about cult leaders, so-called psychics, and swindlers was woven through this performance of card tricks and sleight of hand. Ducker demystified “extraocular vision”, including specific examples of those who claimed to have the skill, gave a humorous demonstration of credit card fraud, and possibly poisoned his audience (fortunately, there was no need for the death certificate stating that I was “poisoned by a magician”).

Performing in the Anywhere Festival Pop Up Space, at the Old Jo Jo’s Restaurant in South Brisbane, Ducker stood behind a small table to perform, with a wide array of bags and props on a second, separate table. The performance I attended had a small audience, and each person had multiple opportunities for involvement, such as choosing a card.

Ducker revealed and explained a number of the techniques he used, from Crossing-Over-style sweeping statements to the art of distraction and misdirection. Sometimes, the magic trick itself became the joke, intentionally revealing a few props or tricks of the trade, but this never made the outcomes less impressive. Although his banter faltered occasionally, Ducker kept the audience engaged throughout and his final trick drew the whole show together on a more sentimental note, with a comment on deception and vulnerability.

Ducker maintained a quick, dry wit and impressed the audience with his masterful magic and storytelling. Although he explained some of his techniques and others could be guessed at, most of the magic he performed left me genuinely confounded and amazed.

Review of May 27 performance

Master of Delusions: False Profits will be performed at the Anywhere Festival Pop Up Space, South Brisbane, on 15, 22 & 27 May, 2022.

For ticketing and further information, visit the event page.

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