Daring water escape

World-renowned Master Magician and Escapologist Matt Johnson visited the Heart of Alberta on Sun. Jan. 13 to share the love for his craft and offer a dazzling performance to attendees.

Johnson hails originally from England but has now found comfort in British Columbia where he, his wife and two daughters currently reside.

He and his crew are travelling across Alberta as part of a new tour to showcase modern magic.

“Stettler has been amazing,” began Johnson. “We were in Drayton Valley and then we came to Stettler a day early so that we could actually enjoy it a little bit. We are having a great time. We’ve eaten some good food and everybody is super friendly.”

The Stettler Performing Arts Centre, where all the action took place, was a highlight as it provides an intimate feel for both entertainer and audience.

“It’s been fantastic. What we are loving about this tour so far in Alberta is we are not doing the big theatres like Calgary and Edmonton because in Edmonton they have the ‘Illusionists’ so we are doing the smaller 200 – 250 seat theatres which I really enjoy and it’s amazing.

“Everybody is treating us so well and so nice.”

The show is brand new as Johnson perfected everything in his home. “You find out that all kinds of things are wrong so I think it [the show] went really well. We got two standing ovations which was cool. The water tank worked. I didn’t die, thank god.”

Two performances took place at the local theatre; one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

The escape aspect of the show came from personal experience. Johnson’s brother regularly experiences seizures so the modern-day magician wanted to know what it felt like.

His most daring trick involves a glass box, handcuffs, water and an abundance of keys where he must hold his breath as he attempts to free himself from the box.

“That is really how I got into escapes. The escapes for me – because I did it for my brother – it was the first time where I wasn’t doing it for a job or about money. It was about my brother and it just kind of became but it ended up becoming the thing that was the most impressionable in my career,” said Johnson.

His grandmother’s music box attends every show as it was what inspired him in the beginning.

“Magic though, really, my grandma’s music box for me was like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

“It was that kind of feeling in my belly you know when the music played but then after that, I just got a few different magic tricks. I got that deck of cards that I sell after my show. That was one of the first decks I ever got.

Johnson said he watched the Paul Daniels Magic Show on TV and then all through his teen years.

“I was very lucky because in my local city there was a magic shop so I went there every Saturday – first one in, last one out eight hours a day every Saturday, 52 weeks a year for five years of my life from 13 to 18 so that is how I really learned my craft.”

In the future, many can see Johnson on a new show called ‘World’s Best’ premiering after the Superbowl.

He spent a month in Los Angeles filming after being invited to join the exclusive Top 50 performers in the world.

“The idea is that the Top 50 will have to actually battle against each other to see who’s the world’s best,” he said.

“You will see some escapes I have done but you will see escapes that I have never done before anywhere, not only on TV but also on my show. First time ever. Very dangerous,” concluded Johnson.



Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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