We have seen great magicians at The Magic Castle but there are few better than Matt Vizio. In our humble opinion — and our opinions are truly the most humble — Magic is not merely the demonstration of manipulative skill but the presentation of a fully entertaining experience.
Yes, Mr. Vizio has the chops. His Cups and Balls routine is flawless and not to be missed. But he compounds his mastery of sleights with that something special that makes him stand-out from most magicians who perform at The Magic Castle.
Last night, we watched as he performed three effects that that thoroughly amazed and delighted the audience the packed Parlor of Prestidigitation.
Let’s take a step here to admit that we have known Mr. Vizio since becoming a member of The Magic Castle and learned from him so much about audience management, routine formation, and what it takes to be a good magician.
We cannot be the first to notice that there are some performers who appear likable and kind on stage but turn 180 degrees in persona once the lights are off. Mr. Vizio does not suffer from this flaw of character. The performer you see on stage is who you will meet once the bright lights are extinguished. What you find in the normal incandescent light is a good and wholesome character.
But, even if we detested Mr. Vizio as a person — which again we do not, quite the opposite — we would need to concede that his act is one of the best we have seen at The Magic Castle.
One of the best indicators of impact by a magician are the number and content of murmurs and exclamations by those in the crowd.
His Vanishing Bill to Inside a Stapled Card (we’re sure there is a name more catchy than that) garnered “No Way!” and “Oh My God!” comments in the crowd before the bill was even shown to be safely stapled between two playing cards. The audience was captured and he had no intention of releasing them immediately. He let the excitement build expertly: balancing that narrow line between “milking” and under-playing the effect.
That sense of balance comes from years of working before real audiences in diverse surroundings and varying conditions. It is so tempting to milk the reactions to an effect. We have all seen it and perhaps some performers enjoy the gratification of knowing that their audience is appreciative. It is more considerate, we think, to allow the audience the moment to perceive what is about to happen and ride the natural building of excitement.
Mr. Vizio is, as we have noted, a considerate performer and person. His ego does not seem to complicate his presentation. He is enjoying the magic with his audience. He is not setting himself apart from them or performing in a boastful or condescending fashion. We are all in this together.
Again, even if we did not consider Mr. Vizio a friend and mentor, we would have reviewed him with the same result. He is precisely what we all hope to be on stage: in control, masterful, and fully entertaining.
We have it on very good sources that he will be appearing this evening through Sunday at the Parlor of Prestidigitation at The Magic Castle.
If you want to see our idea of a great magician, be sure to check out Mr. Vizio. You can thank us later but there’s no rush. Enjoy the moment and the appreciation for great magic that lingers long after the curtain falls. As noted by a fellow diner at The Castle, “That guy is incredible!”
Visit Mr. Vizio’s website here.
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