REVIEW: Making magic — Review
Luminato show Concerto for Piano & Pasteboards is really all about 90 minutes of Miguel Puga’s magic tricks, not the art of the keyboard.
3 stars out of 4
The piano gets equal billing in Miguel Puga and Miguel Aparicio’s show Concerto for Piano & Pasteboards, being presented in the opening days of Luminato. But this is really all about 90 minutes of Puga’s magic tricks, not the art of the keyboard.
At the opening performance on Friday night at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Mazzoleni Hall, the affable Puga showed off a knack for putting on a fine show with 10 fingers and 52 cards.
In some respects, it’s too bad that the vague description in the Luminato program makes this show sound like more than a magic act. Because expectations, like magic itself, are a delicate thing.
But if you and your children go for the abracadabra, you won’t be disappointed. There isn’t anything Puga can’t do with a deck of cards — be they of the regular playing variety, Tarot or a set of whimsical hand-drawn cards from his childhood.
Paz Sabater, who leaves the piano bench for a short turn with a traditional magic trick involving a pile of handkerchiefs appearing out of nowhere, provides a bit of background and travelling music for Puga’s tricks.
To echo his Spanish background, several of the pieces Sabater performs during the card sleight-of-hand are by Manuel de Falla — many in simplified form.
Sabater also takes part in a magic sketch involving blank cards on which members of the audience have written the titles of their favourite songs.
In fact, there is quite a lot of audience participation, be it in the form of special assistants for Puga’s tricks or simply in having us gape in wonder at how he has managed to fool our eyes yet again.
“Do you believe in miracles?” Puga asked of one audience member whom he had invited up to the stage.
“Yes,” replied the eager participant.
“I don’t,” was Puga’s swift, smiling retort.
Magic is the art of making us believe something is real — even when it isn’t. Isn’t that what good theatre is about, as well?
This story was originally posted by the Toronto Star on June 14, 2013