Sleepless Dreams

With Stuart Lightbody

Directed by Tara Notcott

Kalk Bay Theatre & Restaurant until Saturday March 5

Booking: or at the theatre door between 3pm and 8pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays

Review: Michelle Saffer

Stuart Lightbody is a slightly built, neatly dressed, neat featured man. He is dressed in black with a black waistcoat, the only splash of colour being a – yes – neat blue tie. There is a table, some chairs. A small teddy bear. Nothing, really. But from this he magically creates an entirely absorbing show, just using a pack of cards.

As he draws the audience in to his show, he talks about learning magic and sleight of hand tricks at the College of Magic, where he now teaches. How he assiduously practised over and over again, trying to create moments of wonder. He talks about dreams and nightmares and how his mom taught him about the mythical Japanese baku who eat bad dreams.

In the meantime, he is handing out cards to the audience, left, right and centre. We are writing our happy dreams on the red-suited cards, our nightmares on the black-suited cards. In his quiet and understated way, he is making us laugh and the audience rises to the occasion, energy levels and expectation soaring. Someone ready to catch him out in a trick is easily contained and lands up being charmed.

So we understand that when Stuart somehow makes all the red-suited cards go on one side and the black on the other, or when he impossibly finds a card or cards in a pile after others have shuffled and cut and moved, or when a card someone had chosen found its way into a balloon floating above a chair that it is something Stuart has done. Well, he has told us how he practiced from a child, and we can see how cards move effortlessly through his hands, shuffling in the air. Sure, we can intellectually understand. I mean, he even shows you how one of the tricks works. But really, really, really, we know in our heart of hearts that it is magic. Stuart Lightbody is a magician. He is not a prestidigitator, someone who is (unbelievably) skilled at slight of hand and illusion.

And it is magic Stuart creates. With just a pack of cards, he magically transformed a bunch of random people into a happy froth of wonder and awe. Magic indeed.

* Stuart has represented South Africa in the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas and Sweden and currently holds the South African Close-Up Magic title.