Simon Coronel performs Manipulations


If you ever meet Simon Coronel at a party, think twice before you make a wisecrack after you find out what he does for a living. “The jokes. Oh god, the jokes!” They’re the worst thing about being an illusionist, he sighs. “Every time someone thinks they're being clever by asking, ‘So, can you make my wife disappear?’ or anything even faintly similar, I die a little inside. Actually, I die a lot inside,” he says.

Not only is Coronel willing to give away that little insight into life as illusionist, for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival he’ll be giving away a few other trade secrets, explaining how and why he crafts his illusions as he performs them in his show Manipulations. Melbourne-born Coronel, who has been performing sleight of hand for 11 years now, says prior to studying the artform he never enjoyed watching magic or illusion shows “because I had no frame of reference to understand what was happening. It was frustrating rather than enjoyable”.

Now, as an accomplished illusionist, having won an award at FISM (“kind of like the UN of Magic Associations”) and performed at prestigious venues like the Academy Of Magical Arts (aka "The Magic Castle") in Hollywood, Coronel wanted “to create the kind of audience experience that I myself would enjoy. And that means not gratuitously giving away everything, but at least explaining enough about what's going on that the audience can appreciate and understand what they're seeing.”

Manipulations, his first show for the Comedy Festival, will focus on close-up illusions. “Ones that are done with familiar objects, right up close where the audience can see every detail,” explains Coronel. It’s also why he’ll be performing at Tony Starr's Kitten Club. “It's a perfect environment to share these subtle, incredibly challenging up-close miracles.”


Simon Coronel performs Manipulations at Tony Starr’s Kitten Club from March 30 – April 23. It’s at 8.30pm Wednesday – Saturday. Tickets are $20 - $29 and available through Ticketmaster online, 1300 660 013 and at the door.