From the minute Michael Neto walks on stage, you get the feeling anything could happen. He jumps from trick to trick like an over-eager puppy, pouncing on audience members to help with his stunts, and posing apparently random questions to bewildered victims – although there’s an astonishing pay-off at the end of the show.
Portuguese-born and now resident in Glasgow, Neto is a born entertainer and manages to turn even the simplest stunt into something profound through the sheer force of his personality. Telling us about the first time he saw a magician as a young boy, he creates a sense of childlike wonder in a basic coin trick; and uses a sequence reassembling the torn segments of a length of thread as a metaphor for the fragility of love.
He even attempts a Who Wants to be a Millionaire take on a card-identification trick: a bemused audience member is asked to phone a friend on stage to prove there’s no cheating going on.
Neto’s tricks are often mesmerising, and his close-up work is slick and polished. But it’s his personality and volatile humour that really bind things together, taking his show to a completely different level.
Michael Neto: Imagination… yours or mine? Mon 4-Fri 8 July, 8.30pm, The Vault, Merchant St