These are The Magic Memories 62, gone online Sunday, March 6th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.
Pat Perry’s Close Theatre
I’ve meant to write about my friend and professional magic colleague Pat Perry and his amazing “Close Theatre” a long time ago, but each time I start this blog I get carried away by some topical event. However, today is the day, as my friend Christian Engblom likes to say (next time you see him ask him to tell you the joke of the French, the Italian and the Finn bragging to each other about how often they make love).
Swiss-born Pat Perry, originally a draftsman in construction engineering, turned to magic full-time at the beginning of the 1990s.
Like several of his colleagues from Zurich, he learned from one of the best: Jim Cellini. Jim had relocated to Zurich, Switzerland, and was teaming up with Pedro Bedognetti, who at that time owned a swell brick and mortar magic shop called “Pedro Magie”. This was later taken over by Hörbi Kull, who organized some remarkable magic events and conventions (the history of magic in Switzerland might surprise many, but we’ll leave this for some other time).
Jim had not only released some of his creations with “Pedro Magie”, he also became a tutor to several talented young people who patronized the shop. And Pat Perry was among the most talented.
I had the pleasure of seeing him grow up and improving his artistic qualities from year to year: He started out doing close-up magic, quite successfully for corporate and private functions, and now owns his own theatre!
In-between he collaborated with one Archibald, and together they came up with an absolutely unique act that won them first prize in the category of “General Magic” at the FISM World Magic Convention in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2003. I had the good fortune of sitting in the audience for the occasion, and was as enthralled by their performance as everyone else – they received a well-deserved standing ovation, and the title of World Champions. You can see a one-camera recording of their performance BY CLICKING HERE (although it does in no way do justice to the live performance – but you get an idea).
Last October (2021) he kindly invited me to perform at his theatre, which I did with a 75-minute “infotainment show” (I guess that’s what they call this nowadays) titled “Think Differently – How to Deceive Others But Most of All Yourself”. I got the idea for this over twenty years ago from my much admired friend Lennart Green, and I plan to one day tell you a bit more about it, including giving the detailed script, as I believe it might be interesting and even useful to some of you.
Anyway, Pat also has a yearly show he calls “Pat Perry and Friends”, where invites two colleagues to perform in a 75-minute show with him. Below you can see Arthur Roscha, Pat Perry and myself posing for a before-Corona show.
Pat’s Close Theatre is a true jewel – if you get a chance to come to Zurich, Switzerland, which you should do anyway, try to catch one of Pat’s shows – book well ahead, as even now, shortly after the Corona restrictions have been lifted, the theatre is sold out weeks in advance. The venue offers a first-class view from every seat, either on the table-top for close-up magic or for parlor-style magic just behind the table. The theatre has everything needed in sound, light and video equipment, and all the superfluous is left away.
I could obviously go on forever telling you about the show etc., but suffice it to say that Pat, who specializes in Mental Magic and Close-up, delivers a highly sophisticated performance and leaves a deeply impressed and entertained audience behind.
His theater has 76 seats, the ticket is an average of $ 70, and you get some extra close-up magic taking place in the attractive bar located just next to the theatre, and performed by the master himself. Here are a few pictorial impressions of the magic in the bar and in the theatre.
Two weeks ago I made an improvised trip to Italy that came about in this way – a nice example of the Butterfly Effect (see Sharing Secrets, p. 28): I have bought a small magic library from a magic friend and mentor who has now retired from magic. The book collection BTW has over 600 volumes, and I have now at least 400 volumes in double, so if you are interested, send me an email, and I’ll send you a PDF-list (ca. 40 pages long!). However, keep in mind that this might only be interesting for those living within the European Community (I ship from Germany), as shipping outside of it is becoming prohibitive (if the parcel goes over 5 kg), and you might get better deals from second-hand bookshops on your own continent.
Anyway, with the books came the complete file of the German magazine MAGIE (from 1918 to today!), Magische Welt (another 75 years), and Hokus Pokus, the Swiss magazine (founded in 1939). Sadly, almost nobody is interested in old magazines anymore, but I was reminded of the library of Don Silvio (see The Magic Memories 49), with over 22’000 volumes on magic. Upon calling him it turned out he missed exactly those three magazines. Not wanting to make the full trip to Cherasco, a six-hour car drive, I asked if we could meet half-way between Basel and Cherasco, and imagine my surprise when he said: “I’ll be in Varese tomorrow to attend Arturo Brachetti’s show, why don’t you come along.”
Now you must know that Don Silvio was Arturo’s first magic teacher, and Arturo, whenever he can, will promote Don Silvio’s foundation for Children of the World. Briefly: I drove to Varese, a comfortable four-hour car drive, had lunch with my good friend Gianfranco Preverino (more on him in another blog), and in the evening we got VIP seats, courtesy of Arturo, with whom I had conducted a lengthy interview for Genii years ago, but which unfortunately was never published…
What to say about Arturo’s show? In one word: Phenomenal!
His inspiration originally was Fregoli, the Italian and then world’s most renowned quick change artist, but I must say that even Fregoli would agree that Arturo has by far surpassed him.
Brachetti is a highly creative and original performer, and his show cannot be put into words.
In one of his most interesting talks he says that the difficulty of quick change are not so much the changes themselves (as if those were not difficult!), but the motivation why the change occurs. Arturo and I have discussed this several times, and we both agree that this is of course exactly the same in magic: Why do you do this and that? There must be a reason, and it must be captivating to the intellect and the heart – Logos and Pathos (a missing chapter in Sharing Secrets).
The show has to be one of the largest revue-type shows I’ve ever seen, in my opinion more spectacular than even the Las Vegas shows I’ve seen (he travels with two huge trucks where I could fit my house into…). Nonetheless, it is essentially a One-man Show. Amazingly enough, Brachetti manages to impress with state-of-the-art revue-type elements, such as special effects that mix music, laser and video, but at the same time he always stays personable, speaks with the audience from time to time, and at all time keeps up an engaging communication. There are not many shows like this, and right now I can only think of Penn & Teller, who also manage to fill a huge theatre, and at the same time do “big illusions” and stay on an almost one-to-one basis with the audience.
I can only say that if you ever get a chance to get a ticket to Brachetti’s show, grab it, as you will remember it for a long time. Since he speaks in his shows, you will “only” be able to see him in countries that speak Italian, French or English (as far as I know…). But that’s not so bad, is it?
There’s a lot more I could tell you about Arturo and when I first saw him as a young chap debuting at Manfred Thumm’s Magic Hands Convention in Böblingen (1979?) with a ten-minute magic and quick change act… and today he’s a celebrity, a mega star in the world of theatre, with countless TV appearances to his credit (see “Best of Magic”) and numerous of the most prestigious awards in the performing arts. What a pleasure to have been able to follow his career and be friends with him! (If I manage to find the interview, I’ll put it up here…).
Update on Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction & Good-bye
That’s all for today, folks – look forward to chatting with you again in one week’s time.
The Magic Memories (63) might then be a short one only, as on Sunday, 13th March, the plan is to tape the “show-time-part” with some 25 tricks from Card College Volume 4, plus the detailed explanation of them the following two days, to complement the fourteen technical chapters we’ve already taped last week. Looks as if this is going to be another up-to-ten-hours-long tutorial reflecting Card College 4 – the Book.
All the very best!