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Death by Magic: Tricks Never Die

In an age of skepticism, many magicians have bombarded our screens. From Criss Angel to David Blaine and all illusions in between, we’d like to think we have seen it all. Then comes along a pioneer who takes it to the next level. Magician Drummond Money-Coutts (or DMC as he refers to himself) is just such a pioneer.

What makes him different? The premise of his show: Tale the tricks of magicians who’ve died while performing those acts and making them bigger, better and more dangerous. It’s a short series at only eight episodes (available on Netflix and produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions).

At a time when magicians tend to be trendy and present themselves as the common man, wearing basic street clothes while interacting with their audience, DMC goes for the traditional magic man. He wears smart clothes like three-piece suits and substitutes poise and grace for the now all-too-often mystique and hype.

Each show is a research into the magician’s act as DMC finds out what caused the death of his peers, works out the failings of the trick and expands upon the idea to make it even more unbelievable. With other shows, a quick Google search reveals hidden actors who help the magician “pull one over” on the audience. Not so with DMC. A quick look on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) shows the only actor listed is himself with the full cast listed as producers and stunt coordinators.

Throughout the process of research and discovery, DMC does various street magic. Some of it is basic sleight of hand, yet other tricks defy explanation (as a good trick should). A standout trick is with a group of children/students at a Cape Town magic school DMC visits.

He hands out four cards to about 20 students, tells them all to rip them in half, take one of the halves and place it under their individual seats. He calls on various students to pick a number between two and four and has them throw the required number of remaining card pieces into the air. After three rounds of this, the students are left with a single half of one card. He then asks the students to compare this half with the one under their seats. All the students have the exact match and all students have different cards!

There are many other examples but to tell more would be too revealing. The chosen magician’s fatal act for the first episode is a straitjacket escape before being run over by a truck. Except DMC changes it up by escaping a straitjacket and a chained wooden box before being hit by a train. Big, better and deadlier. It just goes to prove some tricks never die, even if the magician does.

To reach Brian Fitz-Gerald email him at bfitz-gerald@rosebudmedia.com.