The Secret Connection online
Performing magic live on-stage or in the close-up intimacy of the street is impressive in both settings. Being able to guess the actions of an audience member or to pick the same cards at random over many miles via Zoom, however, is jaw-droppingly awesome. Dr Will Houstoun – an academic specialising in the history of conjuring magic and first-class magician in his own right – summons all of his energy to perform a spell of tricks during a transfixing performance of The Secret Connection, a production of his own making, devised specifically with the restrictions (and indeed possibilities) of the Covid lockdown in mind.
The common thread, as the title implies, is building connections over a distance in a desire to bring audiences together. Never ceasing to be as charming as he is amusing and astonishing, Houstoun combines a typical magical show with a bit of the history of the art, including re-enacting one of Harry Houdini’s famous tricks, performing near-hypnosis and a range of card and mind tricks. There’s practically something here for everybody.
Of course, the man is no stranger to magic, and this hugely captivating display is a clear testament to that. With flawless use of the technology at hand and a performative style that entrances the audience from start to finish, everything is neatly tied together and expertly carried out in a fashion that must have taken hours and hours to rehearse, while still seeming utterly simple. The onlookers – both young and old – are clearly entertained throughout, and hang on each of Houstoun’s words as he draws them in. Most of his tricks are performed interactively with the audience, although they can state in advance via email if they are uncomfortable with being called on to participate.
It is a great pity that magic shows are not more popular than they are nowadays. Will Houstoun demonstrates that it is a forgotten art form in its own right, and stuns with a miraculous performance. A hearty recommendation for a wonderfully enchanting spectacle for the whole family.
The Secret Connection is available to livestream via Zoom from 16th April until 15th May 2021. For further information or to book visit the production’s website here.
Watch a trailer for The Secret Connection here: