The world of magic and illusion has intrigued audiences for centuries, from the mystics of ancient Egypt to the British parlour room magicians of the Victorian age and the illusionists of Las Vegas. But here in the Algarve, one magician has been a firm favourite at many of the region’s luxurious resorts.
Portimonense magician Alex Darcy has been entertaining audiences since he was a teenager. Fascinated by the world of magic as a child, it was a magic show on Portuguese TV which would ultimately spark his love for magic and illusion.
Sitting in his office, scattered with magic books and manuscripts and surrounded by posters of historical illusionists such as Thurston and Houdini, Alex explained. “It was after watching Swiss magician Peter Marvey performing on the Luis de Matos magic show on TV that I knew I wanted to be a magician. Seeing someone walk out on stage in a short-sleeved shirt and making things appear, I thought to myself, how did he do that? And if he can do it, so can I.” From that moment, Alex embarked on a journey into the world of magic, learning his craft and studying from some of the greatest magicians of the 21st century.
When I asked him who he most admires in the magic world, he told me it was very difficult to single out one magician, but it had to be between Las Vegas headliners the late Max Maven and Tommy Wonder. He also has huge admiration for the more well-known David Copperfield.
Over the years, Alex has performed throughout Portugal and across Europe, entertaining audiences in Spain, France, Germany and the UK. A career highlight was when he was invited to be the magic consultant for the top-rating prime-time TV magic show Minutos Mágicos com Mário Daniel, which was featured on the Portuguese TV channel SIC.
Although first and foremost a magician, Alex has become one of the only, if not the only, mentalists in the Algarve. He performs a mentalism show with the FISM (International Federation of Magic Societies) World Champion of Magic, David Sousa. Sitting in the auditorium, I watched as Alex was blindfolded and David presented him with a series of random objects. Without hesitation, Alex was able to correctly name each object, including the serial number on a 10€ note. When I asked, “How did you do that?” Alex winked and said, “I did it very well”.
The more I spoke with Alex, the more I could see his passion for his craft. Away from the host of luxurious resorts, corporate events and stage shows, he has created numerous effects which have fooled some of the top magicians in the game. However, his all-time favourite illusion must be the Origami, created by American illusion builder Jim Steinmeyer. The illusion features a 30-cm square box which is unfolded, like origami, to become large enough for an assistant to enter it. One inside, the box is folded down again, amazingly with no place for the assistant to be hidden. Three long samurai swords are thrust through the box from all sides, then completely revolved, demonstrating that there is simply no place for the assistant to hide. Finally, the swords are removed, and the box is unfolded to reveal the assistant inside and unharmed. “It is one of the most well-crafted illusions, combining the essence of two ancient art forms, origami and magic, to create a jaw-dropping effect,” Alex explained.
With the rise of social media and ever-growing technological advances, Alex has embraced the modern age and incorporated, for want of a better word, “electronic magic” into his repertoire. He gave me a demonstration. He leaned towards me and said, “Place your phone on the table. I won’t touch it, but I want you to think of the passcode which opens your phone.” I sat patiently, focusing on my passcode as Alex looked at me dead in the eyes. He picked up my phone and, to my surprise, entered the correct code and my phone came to life. I have since changed the code, but it’s safe to say I am now a little more careful about what I think of in front of this master of magic, just in case he might actually be able to read minds!
With various forms of magic thrilling audiences around the globe, Alex said that mentalism, followed by illusions and then close-ups, have to be his favourite styles, but added that all forms of magic can be entertaining if performed correctly and with showmanship. “It’s not the trick that’s important, it’s the journey,” he told me as I pondered how he could know the code on my phone.
Las Vegas entertainer Robert Huffman described Alex Darcy as an “experienced and dedicated magician” explaining that, “His passion for the art is evident throughout his performances.” I can’t argue with that statement, but if I had to give my own testimony, I would say that Alex is a true showman. His dynamic performances blend traditional magic with contemporary illusions, taking his audiences on a journey where for a short time, magic might just be real.
Photos © Alex Darcy