A Kelowna-based magician is itching with excitement to make his “comeback from COVID” in Vernon later this month.
Ryan Michael will bring his mind-blowing — and hilarious — Tricky Business act to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre on Friday, April 29.
Born in Jasper, Alberta, Michael is in his ninth year as a professional magician. In that time he’s been showered with accolades, including double gold medals as Canada’s Close-up Magician of the Year and Canadian Mentalist of the Year through the Canadian Association of Magicians and Pacific Coast of American Magicians in 2017.
He was also named the winner of the Tony Eng People’s Choice Award chosen by fellow magicians, including world-renowned Canadian magician Shawn Farquhar, who Michael has since had the chance to perform with.
“That was the biggest honour for me,” he told the Morning Star. “All my peers and all the guys that I look up to ended up voting for me … which was just amazing.”
Michael specializes in close-up illusions and mentalism — a branch of performance art designed to wow crowds with illusions of mind-reading, mind-control or memory feats.
But a key element to his performances is also comedy.
“It’s a really funny show, I usually get people howling by the first trick, so comedy is a big part of what I do,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of magicians out there who focus purely on the magic, which is great, but what I really was born for was to entertain.”
There’s also plenty of audience participation, with Michael inviting people on stage for multiple tricks.
“I don’t think anyone will have seen a show like this before.”
The 750-seat theatre will be the biggest solo show Michael has attempted to date. He’s played smaller Vernon shows in the past, and the crowds have never disappointed.
“The Vernon crowds are some of my favourite crowds,” he said. “They are fantastic.”
As a bonus, Michael’s dad, Brian Lackey, is driving from Jasper to warm up the crowd with a guitar performance before Michael takes the stage for an hour of magic.
Tickets for Tricky Business are $30, or $35 for the front row, and can be purchased through ticketseller.ca. The show is for a suggested audience of people aged 12 and up.