His background in science, a field whose ongoing process and ambition is defined no better than Newton’s famous comment that his great successes and vision were enhanced by standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before him, it is perhaps fitting that for his return to live performance that Kevin Quantum should look to the history of magic and its most famous practitioners.
The audience suitably masked and expertly conducted to their designated seats in the basement hall of the Drill Hall on East Claremont Street, it is a pared down performance of classic bamboozlement, the stage holding no more than a wooden table and two chairs with a large television monitor to display the detail of the tricks, along with the requisite bottle of hand sanitiser.
Applied frequently but sparingly to ensure the cards do not become too slippery, The Trick That Fooled… is an early evening entertainment introduced by light jazz, Quantum recounting his research into the annals of the Magic Circle which has inspired his recreations of acts which have baffled and delighted noted figures down through the last century, among them Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill, learned in their fields but susceptible to deception.
Is it analysis and calibration, a developed skill, which allows Quantum to determine how many coins are held in a closed fist? If there is misdirection or shenanigans taking place, it is away from the action, for the video feed captures every movement of his hands and magnifies them; the camera cannot lie, can it?
A fresh deck of cards are shuffled then dealt face down on the table, a random arrangement chosen in collaboration with the audience; what statistical aberration bordering on the impossible allows them to return to order when turned over? How much is the audience guided to give the needed response without realising, and how much leeway can there be in the operation of placing a card in a designated pile?
Can the laws of mathematics be balanced against the unpredictability of a live audience? A levitation trick starts, a notion forms in the mind, but is just as swiftly discarded as the floating object behaves independent of human interaction. The show is not perfect, one trick failing to ignite as it should, but it is the exception. The Trick That Fooled? From the second row seat of this impartial witness, absolutely.