Lior Suchard, my hero!

What a show. What an incredible show.

I had the good fortune to see Lior Suchard in action today. He was performing at a corporate event in Chennai, and I saw an article about it in the paper. The event was invite-only, and it was at the Park Sheraton. I landed up anyway with a friend, and after a lot of pleading and cringing, the organizers took pity on me and let me in, with strict instructions to scoot as soon as the show was over and not dip into the cocktails and dinner. I gladly obliged.

And boy, was I glad I did! Lior Suchard is a mentalist, known in the magician circles as Uri Geller’s successor. The show I saw today was top-notch magic. It was definitely one of the best, ever, performing-art events that I have attended.

Lior does all the regular tricks. He started off picking a volunteer from the audience and naming a person she was thinking about. He called another girl on stage, asked her to think of her first love, and wrote down the guy’s name in front of the audience. He names numbers that people think of. He draws pictures that you’re thinking about. In his closing act, he asked five people five random questions – a name, a famous person, a car, a place, a duration – and magically, he ‘materialized’ a piece of paper with a story in it, which had all of those things. This act was first-rate mental magic.

But Lior is more than just a magician; he’s also a consummate entertainer. Second to Comedian Praveen, Lior was the funniest act I’ve seen. Starting with the patter on first love – “I was in love with a girl for one month, and then we broke up. I saw she was thinking of someone else” – Lior had a penchant for keeping the audience enthralled.

Like when he did his closing act, and the famous person named was Barack Obama. He pulled out an envelope and said, “You said Barack Obama? Look at this photograph…” He opens the envelope and takes out a picture of a little African-American kid – “Barack Obama. 2 years old.” And when everyone finishes laughing, he says, “But what if you’d said, you know, maybe, Brad Pitt?” And he turns around the picture and there’s this photograph of a 2-year-old Caucasian kid!

And that unforgettable moment near the end of his closing act, when he materialized his piece of paper. The first piece of paper was inside an envelope that he’d asked a girl in the audience to keep in her safe custody before he started the trick. After he’d asked for the five names, he called her onto the stage and asked her to open the envelope, and read what was on the paper. She looked at the paper, and said, “Exactly the same!” and the audience burst into applause. But the joke was on us, because Lior asked her to show us the paper, and that’s exactly what it said: the words “Exactly the same”! And then, of course, the real paper appeared, with all of the incredible stuff in it.

Lior got everything right in his act. He had this one trick where a guy thinks of a number and writes it down on a piece of paper. Then Lior fills up a grid with a bunch of numbers and asks the volunteer if his number is in the grid. The volunteer says, “Absolutely not!” and Lior does a quick double-take. The volunteer reveals the number he thought of: 75. And then we realize that every row, every column, the diagonals, the corner squares, all sorts of patterns of numbers, all yield the same sum: 75!

The usual reaction to a mental magic performance is, ‘the volunteers were coached’. And it’s hard for a mentalist to counter that, because mind-reading is such a personal act of magic. If we could have hung around after the show (when Lior was mingling with the crowd over cocktails), I would have loved to have him read my mind. But I couldn’t – not after all the goodwill that got me into the show in the first place. Nevertheless, there’s a silver lining. During the show, he called up a couple on the stage, and got the woman to close her eyes; then whenever he poked her partner, she would feel the poke. It was great fun. But what’s even more fun is that this couple comes to the same Gita class that I go to, so next Sunday, I’m going to confront them and ask if they collaborated.

But I’m sure I know what the answer is going to be. Viva Lior! I can’t wait to see you again!

 

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