Cosentino will be showcasing the art of Deception across Australia between May and August, including 5 shows for WA in June. For information and tickets, please visit www.cosentino.com.au
Since his national TV debut on Australia’s Got Talent, Cosentino has levitated himself as one of the greatest magicians, illusionists and escapists of our time, standing alongside the likes of the legendary David Copperfield, Penn and Teller and Chris Angel.
Through a series of international tours and television audiences across forty countries, the Australian has cast a spell onto a worldwide audience of over three hundred million, while taking home some of the industry’s most prestigious awards such as The Merlin Award, acknowledging him as “The International Magician of the Year” and International Escape Artist of the Year, alongside a title in the Guinness Book of Record.
Despite being the first magician in Australia to host a TV show, international fame may not necessarily be the defining success for Cosentino.
“I’d also like to be remembered as pioneering the art form in Australia and having a prime time show based on me, like Dancing with the Stars and having a children book series. I don’t mean to sound conceded, but it’s about pioneering. If I can be remembered for anything, it’d be for opening the genre to more people, and commercialising it.”
With the lack of well-known magicians from Australia, the Melbournian – who has also written an autobiography and a children book series, is still attempting to change the outlook of one of the most niche creative professions in Australia.
“When I grew up as a young boy in Australia, I couldn’t look up to any Australian magicians. For example, I was inspired by Harry Houdini (a Hungarian who emigrated to America)… Copperfield of course – both are Americans, and Siegfried and Roy who are Germans. But in Australia, I couldn’t pinpoint one big commercially successful magician, but there are plenty of Australian musicians and actors who have done well abroad.”
So, like most escape artists, Consentino was inspired by Houdini – but that’s where the similarities end. “All of my escapes and death-defying stunts are inspired by Houdini, but they’re all my creations. You’ll not see anywhere in the world; because they’re mine. I did them myself… the illusions are built and inspired by others. For example, sawing a person in half, but I do it very differently. The show is very immersive…a lot of audience participation… a lot of spectacle with magic projected onto the screen…a bit of humour, a bit of comedy, a bit of romance…all wrapped up into a 90- minute show.”
After a record-breaking spell of crowd attendance in recent shows, expect a wave of fans flocking to Deception.
What can we expect from his latest tour? “I tried to see my show as a rounded blockbuster film, some chasing, a bit of drama…and in a good film, you go that roller coaster ride…”
So what’s real and what’s fiction? Or is it one big illusion? “The illusions and the magic aspect of it is exactly that. Imagine you watching Jurassic Park; you know the dinosaurs aren’t real…you come into the cinema, you sit, you suspend your disbelief…you got caught up in the storyline… the T-Rex comes out and takes a big bite and you get shocked and scared… but you know is not real… and you feel safe seating in your seat. But it feels real. That’s what my magic show is. People appearing and disappearing and elevating and I slowly melt through steel… with special effects….”
It doesn’t feel that dangerous after all, does it? Yeah right, tell that to his insurer. According to Cosentino, they are death-defying, per se. “And now I draw a line on the sand… the escapes – fortunately, or unfortunately – depending on how you look at it – the dangers are real; as I’m holding my breath underwater, I’m hanging upside down with burning ropes, and is not special effects… and I can tell you the insurance is very much real!”
Like most jobs, there’s an element of risks involved. How far does one go in the name of entertainment? “It’s a calculated risk… same way as someone gets off an aeroplane…and they go higher and higher…and how they got wings now – they don’t even have parachutes… they glide and they get so close to rock and cliff faces and that’s pushing the limits, even as calculated… but every now and then the parachute doesn’t open… so things can go wrong…”
Then the obvious comes to mind; can’t the escapist simply use a rusty lock to escape? After all, the kids are watching. “Of course, when you choose locks for an underwater escape, you choose locks that are easier to pick on – I’m not an idiot, I’m not gonna use locks that I can’t open…”
For most of us who grew up prior to the ’90s, there’d be a point in time when we aspired to be a magician. Despite having learning difficulties as a kid, it was Cosentino’s mother who introduced him to the world of magic. So, what’s the magic formula? “There are seven fundamentals in magic, you can make something appear and disappear, you can transport something, you can levitate something, can make a solid go through a solid, there is something called telekinesis where you move an object through your mind… but you have to build upon it… as there are a certain amount of jokes, a certain amount of stories… and how you reconfigure it, how you interpret it, so there’s kinda a formula, but not really, as there are the fundamentals that you work with… and then there’s the dance, the choreography, the lights, that makes it a true success. So I guess there is a formula, we just got to build on those classics…and interpret the best way to suit you.”
The other prerequisite is being creative, “as there is a lot to think about, there’s a lot to pull to baffle the mind, there’s a lot of psychology as well.”
Like this writer, most of us – the adults, were disappointed when Cosentino came runner up to singer Jack Vidgen. So when prompted about his experience in Australia’s Got Talent, he replied, “I was really nervous, and I didn’t expect to do that well…I thought if I can make to the top in the show, it’d be really wonderful…and I went all the way. But I knew I wasn’t going to win that show. The winner signed to a Sony recording contract. I can tell you I signed with Sony International too with the TV shows. But they were never going to sign a magician to be a musician – that’s the reality…and I wasn’t bitter.”
Well, at least Cosentino won Dancing With The Stars in 2013 – but to be honest, considering the man dances like a conglomeration of his idols Michael Jackson, Prince and Fred Astaire, Cosentino could’ve been a professional dancer. And to cap it all off the well-ripped gentleman dances (shirtless) for entertainment value as well as to distract the audience from the happenings. Expect a lot of pro-grade dancing in his show.
Without a doubt, the publicity from Australia’s Got Talent catapulted Consentino as an Australian brand (and subsequently winning the Laureate Award), but the child wasn’t conceived from a one-night stand.
“I’ve worked for fifteen years prior to AGT. I was really working to who I am, putting bums on seats, and really promoting, and no one knew my brand, and Australia’s Got Talent gave me the rocket boost… that fuel boost… but the hard and the foundation was there…is like a bodybuilder who has worked for fifteen years prior…and we are talking about hard work…
Oh yes, Cosentino was also in a Jackie Chan movie, Bleeding Steele where he played himself. He created the fight scene, and describes Chan “as one great guy”.
Now that we know about one of the most intriguing men on the planet, it’s time to book a ticket to Cosentino’s Deception. Given Cosentino is the highest-selling Australian act ever for international concert promoter ‘Live Nation, you do want to move quick!