Saturday, April 23, 2022



Tricky Nick Magician and Idiot.

 May Wirth Big Top. Canberra Circus Festival produced by Tom Davis and Warehouse Circus. Lyons Youth Haven. Kambah Pool Road. Kambah. April 19-23 2022.

Reviewed by peter Wilkins

My grandsons didn’t stop giggling  from the start to finish of Tricky Nick’s  magical show for all the family. Billing himself as a magician and idiot, Nick lived up to his reputation and had the audience in the palm of his hand as he delighted the young audience and their parents with slapstick, toilet humour and skilfully executed sleight of hand. Tricky Nick aka Nicholas J Johnson is a magician extraordinaire but he is no idiot. He’s a master of tomfoolery who uses the art of feigned confusion to bewilder and amaze the kids and keep the adults guessing. The more he fake fumbles the more his audience erupt into delighted  instruction. It’s an old clown’s trick to play dumb, but Tricky Nick’s timing is spot on. He knows when to milk the house and when to hit the high point and move on.

In a series of tricks Tricky Nick turned out the familiar and the favourite. Coins appear from a young volunteer’s nose and ears. A magic wand shows that it has a mind of its own. Cards appear and disappear and change suits. Rope tricks always keep alert eyes wide open to see how two pieces magically become one. Eggs, looking like ping pong balls keep popping out of the mouth and eight year old willing helper Aisla gasps in amazement when two separate rings become linked and then three are linked and separated before disbelieving eyes.

 Circus fans may be familiar with many of the tricks, but for the kids, Tricky Nick’s show is a wonderworld of magic. He is the consummate performer of the slick trick and establishes an immediate silly and relaxed rapport with his wide-eyed, laughing, cheering and clapping fans. . Nothing is too drawn out or confusing and for an entertaining hour the audience is rapt.

Every act needs a good finale, something that nobody expects and everybody will remember. Card tricks and magic rings or a wobbly wand are all well and good, but escapology is something nobody would have expected. It’s not Houdini but Tricky Nick invites an adult to help him be put into a strait jacket and then bound with a very long chain. The giggles stop and you could hear a pin drop and the magician built the suspense in this “death-defying” act and began to work his magic to escape from the chained up strait jacket. And presto, he not only manages to climb out of the orange strait jacket and shed the chains but he offers a balloon dog that he has made while struggling to a kid in the front row of the May Wirth Big Top.

 And the best tricks? That was something my grandsons couldn’t say. They liked it all. There was no trick where they could say “I know how that’s done” or “That was boring”. Tricky Nick’s fun, foolishness and  and first rate magic skills made every act a hit with the boys and the rest of his very happy audience. Keep an eye out for Tricky Nick’s book of magic. It’s full of party tricks that you can practise at home and then amaze your friends. That’s what Tricky Nick did at the Canberra Circus Festival.