Last night we popped in to the Clocktower Centre in Essendon (VIC) to see Cosentino's new show 'Threshold'. The 500 seat theatre was full and, though it was great to see such a mix of ages in the crowd, it was disappointing to see that only a few magicians had turned up to support the show. We had great seats in the dress circle, but every seat in this theatre is good.
Cos began with "three blind men" coming onto the stage and examining a large platform from which he suddenly appeared in a colorful Willy-Wonka-meets-The-Mask costume and began with a series of no-silk dove productions and flash effects including producing his brother AC. The high energy, colour and lighting guaranteed he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the word go.
Next was an interesting Skeleton chest illusion where he split his brother in two like a zipper.
After the mask came off Cos introduced his "co-star" the bunny, Mr Snuggles, who performed a mind reading card effect where he chewed a card's identity into a piece of paper.
Cos performed some of his original dance moves in an impressive floating microphone routine (no other magician moves as gracefully or as effortlessly as he does, some of his dancing looks like magic itself!) And he went into a long section of close up magic projected onto a big screen. He and an audience volunteer sat at a table and he performed a card revelation, spoon and key bending, and finished with a bending wine glass. Very impressive and a nice change of pace.
From here (and I apologise if I've left anything out or I've got things in the wrong order, there just wasn't time to take notes) he presented a unique version of the chair suspension. I really don't think anyone without the physique he has could get away with this, but the audience was very impressed and convinced it was not a trick!
A feature escape closed the first half. He was tied into a straitjacket, and placed inside a padded cell (with perspex front) and his legs were chained to the floor and the door locked shut. Above him was a grid of very real spikes and the rope holding them was set on fire. The magicians in the audience were waiting for a cover to go up, or for the perspex to become opaque, but no such thing. Cos did the escape in full view and the audience were on the edge of their seats.
The second half began with a very nicely executed execution. Cos, through dance, told the story of a thief who was sentenced to death by electric chair. A huge set piece was displayed and he was summarily locked in the chair, covered with a cloth and vanished only to reappear from the back of the theatre.
After changing costume in front of the audience (he really does have very excited fans!) he and a number of very randomly selected audience volunteers created a series of conditions that resulted in a very nice and entertaining piece of mentalism (and I'm not going to ruin the surprise for you here you'll just have to go see it!)
Next came a favourite from last year's show, his grafitti inspired version of Twister, which really got a strong response from the crowd, and this led into another highlight from 'Evolution', the Watertrap. Cos has 2.20mins to escape from a sealed 44 gallon drum filled with water. It's a long piece, with every element being examined and re-examined by the audience, but it certainly holds them riveted.
It actually reminded me of what it must have been like in "the old days" when a travelling show would come to town and you could really take your time in creating a mystery, rather than the modern style of cramming in as many effects into as short a time as possible. What makes it more interesting is that Cos is a very modern style performer, but he is very much "old school" in his interpretation of many of his routines. (Which is a good thing!)
After drying off (yes, he did avoid drowning) he sat down on the stage and told us about his life before finishing with a nostalgic set piece that explored his early days in magic which many people said was the highlight of the show for them.
The whole show was well over two hours plus a twenty minute interval, performed only by Cosentino who (with his assistants) really held his own. Without a doubt this was the best magic show I've ever seen at the Clocktower Centre.
In fact, I'd say it's one of the best produced magic shows in Australia, the lighting and sound are excellent.
It's great to see Cosentino is out there touring theatres and giving audiences a chance to see some great magic. His mother told us later that he's really whet the appetite of the audiences who are eager to see more and more quality magic. His success is good for all of us so, if you get the chance, don't miss seeing his show when it comes to your town. You can see his tour schedule here.
The only sour note for the whole night was when, while watching Cos sign autographs and posters in the foyer after the show, we spotted another magician's business cards being handed out among the punters.
Other than that is was a great night, great value and great magic. At only 24 years old, Cosentino has a huge future ahead of him.