Peter Boie: Magician for non-believers


Agathe Fredette

Peter Boie performs an illusion

A tall man steps onstage amid the blaring of rock music and takes a sweeping bow. Dressed in a grey t-shirt, black pants, a black blazer, and bright orange lace-up sneakers, the man—who introduces himself as the magician Peter Boie—shows the crowd his empty hands before proceeding to play a tune on a seemingly invisible harmonica. Moving onto a choreographed piece set to catchy rock music, he begins to continually conjure deck after deck of playing cards seemingly out of thin air, until the stage is liberally carpeted with them, setting the appropriate mood and décor for more magic tricks. He then goes on to pull a variety of sleight of hands tricks and illusions out of his sleeves that defy the human eye and logic.

A slender man with an infectious grin and a mischievous glint in his eye, Boie is a self-proclaimed “magician for non-believers” and first appeared on the CW Network’s show “Penn and Teller: Fool Us” where magicians attempt to fool Penn and Teller, two professional magicians with over 80 years of experience in the world of magic tricks between them.

Boie traverses the United States, touring a variety of colleges and universities across the country to perform his astonishing and captivating magic show.

Having visited before, Boie returned to the stage at Johnson State College to show off his array of logic-defying magic tricks to a packed house in the Stearns Performance Space Feb. 22. For almost every trick he brought to the stage, Boie picked out a different member of the audience to come on stage to assist him, taking full advantage of the versatility of audience participation to enhance a show.

Boie’s tricks ranged from conjuring chicken eggs and bottles of sparkling cider seemingly out of nowhere, to using the power of mind reading to discover which excessively long SAT word an audience member was thinking. A magic trick that was particularly baffling involved Boie making a student’s ID card vanish after being placed into a wine glass, only to have it reappearing in a colorful beach ball that had been across the stage the entire duration of the trick.

One of his most elaborate and mystifying tricks involved disturbing chalk writing appearing on two previously blank chalk boards with a piece of chalk between while resting in the lap of a participating audience member. Once lifted from her lap, gasps and confused chatters rippled throughout the crowd when the assistant’s first name and “I’m watching you” could now be seen scrawled across the previously blank chalk board.

Boie’s performance concluded with a dramatic and high energy escape from thumb cuffs and a straight-jacket for the performance’s specifically French “finalé.” Every trick during his hour-and-a-half long performance was engaging and forced you to pay close attention to try to figure out how the hell he was fooling an entire room full of people.

Not only did Boie bring an impressive array of magic tricks to the Stearns Performance Space, he also proved that he is a skilled comedian and all around entertainer, which seems like it should be a requirement for magicians. No one wants to watch someone fool them effortlessly and make them question reality if they do not have a certain level of charm, do they?

Boie’s quick wit and use of playful banter with his variety of assistants was a wonderful example of his skill at truly engaging with the audience and making them an essential part of the experience. And while not every single one of his tricks were entirely astounding or original, Boie exuded an experienced yet relaxed stage presence and a level of self-deprecation that made the entire performance entertaining and hilarious.

Overall, experiencing Boie’s magic show live and preferably with a front row seat is definitely a unique, entertaining, and hilarious performance. If you ever have the pleasure of witnessing one of Boie’s shows in person, make sure to raise your hand to get the chance of being on stage with him for a memorable experience either assisting with or being the subject of his magic tricks. You will continually question your visual perception of reality and puzzle over how one man in bright orange sneakers could make you believe, if even for a split-second, in the impossible.