Sunday 21 April 2024

Lie To Me review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Josh Staley is here to tell us that magic is not real. It's all about illusions, sleight of hand and powers of persuasion. But when you watch his magic show Lie To Me, and witness his acts, you can't help but wonder if he's actually lying to us, and magic is, actually, all around.

The intimate setting of Staley's show means there are no shining lights, dramatic music or pauses to distract us from what's happening. The audience is three deep and very close to the front, and yet, Staley pulls off some utterly baffling acts where it is impossible to see how he accomplished it and how no one in the audience was able to figure it out.

It would ruin the surprise to mention any of the acts that Staley performs, but there is a great variety that keeps everyone scratching their heads. One particular trick where he guesses the drink cards that three audience members have selected is amazing on its own, but the way he concludes this is simply mind-blowing. He is excellent at engaging with his audience and very personable, even remembering the names of everyone he speaks with.

Throughout the show Staley insists that magic is not real and there are straightforward and logical ways these tricks are being executed. While he doesn't specifically reveal how he does each one, he explains how it could be done. One example is his use of the Barnum effect, an expression attributed to showman P. T. Barnum, which involves making general statements that can be applied to almost any individual, and yet, you walk out unable to pinpoint when it was done.

Lie To Me is an exciting opportunity to get up close and personal with magic and a guaranteed evening of surprises and fun. So, is magic just a big lie? Sure, but if you're anything like me, there will be times when you will forget to clap because you're sitting there completely dumbfounded as to how Staley pulled it off, and that is incredibly impressive.

Lie To Me was performed in Melbourne between 27 March and 20 April.

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