We may live in the age of iPads, Wikipedia and daily scientific discovery, but that doesn’t mean people don’t still get a kick out of the wonder of good old fashioned magic.
Eric Bedard, known on stage as the Cool Magic Dude, believes magic is alive and well. Audiences still enjoy suspending their own disbelief, he says. Technology only encourages magicians to get better.
“That just forces us to become more creative and more ingenious,” said Bedard, who spent five years performing for Princess Cruise Ships and is a regular entertainer at David Foster concerts. “When you go and rent a movie, you want to watch a movie, you’re in that mindset. People come to this show, they want to have some fun, they want to be entertained.”
The show in question is a night of Mirth and Magic at the Isabelle Reader Theatre on Sunday, May 27. For the event, a total of eight well-regarded magicians from up and down the coast will come together to perform, compete and dazzle. Bedard is both co-organizing and performing at the show.
The first half of the evening will be a competition between four magicians vying for the Wansborough Trophy, a regional award for the best comic magician of the year, given out for the past 20-odd years. The audience votes on their favourite magician and the one with the most votes wins.
Featured in the second half will be some of the pros of magic on the West Coast. Headliner act Murray Hatfield and his assistant Teresa are award winning illusionists and currently one of the most successful touring illusionist acts in North America, Berard said.
“This is the biggest array of talent we’ve ever had at one of these shows,” Bedard said.
All the proceeds from the show will go back to presenters Victoria Magic Circle, a non-profit organization that promotes the art of magic, especially for young people.
Trained by his magician father, Bedard started performing at 14 years old, eventually going pro in the 1990s. He specializes in close magic, meaning lots of audience participation and tricks that can happen right in front of your eyes. Bedard now only performs for a select group of clients and at charity events such as this one.
As the Cool Magic Dude, Bedard uses humour, audience participation and a huge repertoire of card, coin and fire tricks to put on a show that is intended to wonder and amuse. Bedard finds his satisfaction in helping people to have a good time at a show. If he can amaze them, all the better, but his first priority is to get them laughing and having some fun.
“It’s not ‘hey look what I can do, I’m better than you,’” Bedard said. “No, this is fun. Forget about everything else for a short time and come with me and you’ll have some laughs, you’ll have some wonder and some amazement, and we’ll all have a great time together.”
Tickets for the show are $10 and available at Murray’s Trick and Joke Shop on Broughton Street, as well as at Langford Fire Hall No. 1 on Peatt Road. Showtime is 7 p.m., with doors open at 6:30 p.m.