In case you haven’t figured out yet, I love the world of the professional con artist. After close to three decades learning the tricks of the trade, I’m still obsessed It does matter if it is the simplest magic tricks or the most complicated large scale fraud, I’m on board. That’s why I’m super pumped about the Melbourne Magic Festival this year.
I’m known either as a Melbourne magician performing a fun magic show as a that amazes audiences but doesn’t give too much way or I’m known as a keynote speaker who exposes con artists secrets so the public can protect themselves from phishers, advance fee fraudsters, three card monte tossers, sweetheart swindlers and other criminals.
In 2017, I’m doing something a little different. This July, I’ve created a show called The Confidence Artist. The show doesn’t just teach you how to protect yourself, it teaches you how to become a professional con artist.
Obviously, I don’t expect audiences to turn to a life of crime after watching one of my shows. The last thing I want is to turn from a Melbourne magician to a former Melbourne-magician-serving-three-to-five-for-fraud. However, like the saying goes, “it takes a thief to catch a thief.” So why not help people understand how swindlers do what they do by showing them the world from the inside out?
This will be a college for con artists, a school for scoundrels and a TedTalk for tricksters! I want audiences to find out whether they have the sleight of hand chops, the devious personality and complete lack of morals required to lie, cheat and steal their way through life.
Audiences will discover the secret of telling a good lie, how to cheat at cards without getting caught, why people fall for the oldest tricks in the books and learn a long con so baffling, it’s still fooling suckers five hundred years after its invention.
And, like all good con artist stories, we’ll even feature a briefcase jammed with cash for audiences to try to get their hands on.
But remember, this is a show about con artists, so things won’t always appear what they seem.
The Confidence Artist runs from 4-8 July at Northcote Town Hall. Tickets are available here or by phoning (03) 9481 9500.
Nicholas J. Johnson is a Melbourne magician, author and expert on con artists and fraud.