It’s a Kind of Magic

Lucca’s touch: a dash of ­mystery, alluring good looks, and a few tricks up his sleeve

On The Town | Andreas Rainer | September 2012

An illusion is built by the conjurer and by our own willingness to believe (Photo: Lauren Brassaw)

It was Christmas long ago, when with wide-opened eyes, I unwrapped a brand new boxed set of magic tricks: Enchanted dice, cursed rings, and a magic wand opened the previously hidden door to a world of wonder. Then, hours later, after desperately trying to master at least one of the tricks described in the manual, my young magician’s career was buried together with the boxed set in a basement closet, where they are still gathering dust, along with my dreams of bewitched audiences and standing ovations.

But the yearning for magic never dies, and later I knew I agreed with Goethe that "the highest to which man can attain is wonder."

And so on a gentle evening in June, I set out to meet Lucca the Illusionist, the dashing young Viennese magician whose ambition it is to rekindle the sense of wonder we all had as children.


Dinner with a magic touch

Part magician, part storyteller, Lucca tours exclusive venues in Vienna, London, Bangkok, and Singapore with his programme "4 Seasons of Magic", delighting guests with an evening-long foray into the varying traditions of sleight-of-hand, alternating with an unfolding feast of gourmet pleasures at €99 a head.

Many guests are new to magic. "They probably expect disappearing white tigers and pretty girls that are getting sawed in two halves," he says, laughing. But he travels light, with props that all easily fit into one suitcase. In this show, items float through the air, euro bills disappear, and torn playing cards are made whole again.

This simplicity is the key to his success, and through the power of storytelling, a simple playing card turns into a Phoenix that gets burned in the magician’s hands and rises back from the ashes in a surprised guest’s vest pocket. He involves the audience in many stunts, whether they like it or not. But Lucca is ever the good host: He never targets his "volunteers" and everyone feels comfortable.


Mind over matter

The mind games are the most impressive. He asks a young woman to pick a word at random in a 300-page book – Fahrenheit 451, by the legendary Ray Bradbury, who has just died the week before. She is to memorise the word, then tell him the page number and line. There are 500,000 words to choose from, he reminds the audience. He concentrates; no one moves. He guesses a word… she smiles. It’s right, and the room thunders with applause. He also stops his pulse for half a minute, perhaps not magic, but impressive all the same.

Above all, Lucca is a performer, creating illusions that raise questions, that conjure up the "wonder" Goethe understood so well.

"There are only 19 magical techniques that can be used," Lucca told The Vienna Review. "Just like a painter cannot invent a new colour or a writer cannot come up with a wholly new plot, I create new combinations of what already exists."

He saves the best for last: A couple from the audience comes on stage and sits in two chairs far away from each other. With their eyes closed, he touches one of them and miraculously the other person feels it on the same exact spot. When he performs at weddings, that stunt is always a highlight.

Maybe it is time to get that box back out of the closet.


For a sneak preview of his programme, Lucca will be performing:

11 Sept., 19:00

Palais Schönburg

4., Rainergasse 11

See website for contact details and reservation information.

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