Review By Regan Baker
Ever since I was a little kid I have been fascinated by the art of illusion and have actively sought out every opportunity possible to see magic performances. Whether that be Breaking the Magicians Code on TV in the late 90’s, or seeing Penn and Teller perform at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, I have seen magic performed across the globe. I’ve seen Motorbikes disappear right before my eyes, numbers and codes guessed in absolutely impossible circumstances and bullets that should shatter teeth, caught. There is one thing however, that until last night that I had never seen; a magician with high-functioning autism.
Toowoomba-based magician Aaron Ducker has been performing at the Anywhere Festival since 2016, but this year is the first where he pulls a rabbit out of the proverbial hat about his neurological disorder. In this brand new show, Autis-tricks, Ducker tackles some of the common misconceptions about autism through his tricks and opens the eyes of those willing to watch about how his brain processes the world around him.
The show is hosted in the quaint Shadowplay House in Fortitude Valley where Ducker primarily focusses on up-close magic and misdirection, which perfectly suited the small venue and audience. It was evident from the outset that Ducker’s specialty was sleight-of-hand card tricks and while most of the techniques he used were not knew, the tricks themselves were mostly innovative in their execution. This included the use of a variety of unique mediums to perform his magic, including every day, un-magical objects, like tablet computers and even an electric guitar.
In a small venue it was nice to see Ducker consistently reverting back to audience participation and having the crowd involved in the show, which ensured that everyone was constantly engaged in the performance. The venue itself had no frills and no elaborate stage or audio equipment, so the transition between tricks and engagement in the act itself had to come from Ducker’s crowd work, which he did with relative ease.
It was evident from the beginning that Ducker had put a lot of thought into his show and the types of tricks he wanted to perform. The routine wasn’t without its flaws however and there were certain elements that went a little awry, but that unfortunately is the nature of performing close-up magic.
It’s really quite difficult to compare apples with oranges when I have seen magic performed by some of the greatest magicians that have ever walked this earth and have a relatively firm grasp of how a lot of tricks are executed. With that in mind I shall conclude by saying that Ducker is an inspirational performer who demonstrates that you can achieve anything you want, regardless of what limitations may be imposed on you. He has chosen to not let his disorder hold him back from doing what he loves and has found a way to build show, after show, after show and perform them in front of audiences both great and small.
Autis-tricks has one more performance at the Anywhere Festival on the 21st of May. Go to anywhere.is for tickets and more information.