Sleight of hand to thrill in new Niagara Falls close-up magic show

    A while back Ken McCreedy was doing a magic show as part of Canada Day festivities in Midland when a woman walked up him afterward and thanked him.

    He asked her why.

    “She said ‘My grandchildren haven’t smiled for four years,’ but they smiled at the show,” said McCreedy.

    The Thorold resident didn’t understand at first, but then she told him the kids’ parents had been killed in a car accident.

    “She was just so grateful that they smiled and were happy,” he said. “That just made my day.

    “It’s very rewarding when you see a person smiling and laughing and forgetting about all their troubles.”

    McCreedy is hoping he’ll see more smiling faces when he and fellow magician George Marchionda of Niagara Falls join guitarist Terry Wash of St. Catharines at a new magic show series they’re launching at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in Niagara Falls on June 27.

    He’ll certainly be close enough to see the audience’s pearly whites: McCreedy and Marchionda will be performing close-up magic, like the increasingly popular form of magic seen on America’s Got Talent.

    “There’s no camera tricks here: it’s all done under your nose,” said McCreedy of the new Mystify Close Up Magic show. “The furthest seats are only three or four metres away and the seating is tiered so it’s a very intimate room that only seats 40 people. Everybody gets a great view.”

    Walsh starts the shows, which will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily, with a guitar performance. McCreedy said Walsh is a “musician’s musician,” who has performed in various bands and who toured in places such as South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States as the music director for Elvis Presley Jr.

    “I was always intrigued by how other musicians would come out to see him perform,” said McCreedy. “He was the real deal.”

    McCreedy has known Marchionda for years after meeting him at a magic club. The latter recently retired as a teacher and is now pursing his passion for sleight of hand.

    “I can try out new tricks on him,” said McCreedy. “He’s good at editing and critiquing a routine.

    “Some guys don’t like criticism, but I like it to make my magic better,” he said.

    McCreedy said while talented magicians can make close-up magic look easy to audiences, it’s anything but. “Some of the tricks you have to practice for 10 years,” he said.

    “Sometimes you try something new and you say ‘it doesn’t look good’ and you want to give up, but you have to keep trying,” he said. “You need persistence and patience.”

    Many of the skills in close-up sleight of hand originated with gamblers back in the day, who had a very good reason for perfecting tricks to keep getting royal flushes.

    “If they caught you, you’d get shot,” said McCreedy.

    He hopes the shows will continue through the summer and that weekend shows will continue throughout the year. Tickets are $34.95 and are available via Eventbrite at

    A $10 discount is available by using the promo code “metrolandmedia.”

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