While he talks, magician Stuart Lightbody twirls a coin between his fingers. Then he drops the coin into one hand and it disappears… a flick of the wrist and it’s in his hand again.
Stuart is a regular performer at Alexander Bar’s Upstairs Theatre and is now doing his show Unique Wonders, there until Saturday August 19.
“I perform all over the world at various art festivals, weddings, private parties and boat cruises, but Alexander Bar is one of my favourites,” he says.
“It’s very intimate and you get to interact with your audience.”
Stuart grew up in Noordhoek and was introduced to magic by a friend at a young age. However, he says, his father showed him his first trick and it may have been that which sparked the interest in magic.
He enrolled in the College of Magic in Claremont at the age of 13 and four years later graduated with a silver medallion.
Thereafter, he backpacked in the UK and did some magic on streets and on cruise ships.
He now teaches at the College of Magic, where he has been for the past 11 years.
Stuart refers to himself as a sleight-of-hand artist. His type of magic is that of dexterity and psychology.
Asked if he had ever failed at a trick during a performance, Stuart says: “I’ve failed many tricks, but it takes years to master. But I’ve got two good books on magic that have helped me tremendously on my journey.”
He says while many people consider magic entertainment for children, adult magic does exist. “It’s quite a small community, but it is growing,” he says.
Stuart says what makes his acts worthwhile is seeing people enjoy themselves.
“I feel like magic engages with emotion.
“Our interest in the world is what inspires magic. It’s all the little things you experience, and the look on people’s faces is what makes me want to perform for them.”
Stuart says one of the developments he admires about the city centre is that it has recently come alive.
“I love the fact that people are coming out more and speaking to each other. We could use more of that. I would love to see the city wake up.”
When Stuart is not playing cards or making things disappear (like all my pens during the interview), he loves reading or catching up with old friends and family.
“But magic is pretty much what I do. I’m going to be that old magician with a cane, all grey with many books and still doing magic tricks.”