The magic of Larry Soffer
"Fantastic!"; "I don't know how he does it!" – two remarks overheard on Saturday evening, outside Milnerton High's school hall, after the end of Cape Town magician Larry Soffer's one-night fund-raising show.
The members of the Stellenbosch Magic Circle attended Soffer's show, and unanimously give it a thumbs-up.
Soffer, assisted by the exotic and lovely Gabriela, entertained the crowd with a variety of routines that pleasantly combined humour and magic.
I was impressed by Soffer's showmanship; he comes across as expressive, graceful, and friendly. Furthermore (and more importantly IMO) his act was professional, with almost no trace of the corny routines one sees from time to time.
An old-boy of Milnerton High, Soffer attended the College of Magic in Cape Town as a lad, and then trained himself further in mentalism. This I learnt from his mom, who attended the show accompanied by brother Russell.
It was a delight to see his fork-bending routine, which he executed very proficiently. Not since Uri Geller performed in Cape Town has cutlery been in such danger.
Geller, of course, was a fraud, and pretended that he had supernatural abilities.
As a scientist and sceptic I'm sensitive to, and concerned about, the fine line any magician walks between such pretence and attributing their performance to skill and subterfuge.
Some performers, like Criss Angel and David Blaine, appear to encourage audience belief in their apparently supernatural talents (or at least, they don't actively discourage such belief).
On the other hand, performers like The Amazing Randi, Banachek, and Derren Brown, are explicit about their amazing abilities. According to Alan Thompson, walking encyclopedia from the Cape Town Magic Circle, Banachek is known for saying that he "uses his five sense to make you believe he has a sixth sense."
Soffer appears to be somewhere in-between: he flirts with the mystical but stops short of claiming supernatural powers.
Despite this minor reservation, I'd unreservedly recommend that you attend one of his performances, and experience "the magic of Larry Soffer" for yourself.
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