Nothing Here Is Real, with Mentalist Gary Ferrar

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Gary Ferrar at Cipriani
Gary Ferrar at Cipriani

Nothing Here Is Real
Written and performed by Gary Ferrar
Oxbow Tavern
May 28, 2019

No Ladies Were Sawn in Half

Gary Ferrar’s Nothing Here is Real is an entertaining mash-up of what he refers to as “mentalism”—magic effects, including one it-almost-doesn’t-happen card trick, and cheery, crowd-pleasing patter designed both to engage the audience and turn its collective mind where he wants it to focus.

Several of his efforts were truly unfathomable, in that I watched and listened closely—even a tad cynically—and still didn’t have the faintest idea of how he achieved the effect. The venue, The Cocktail Lounge below Oxbow Tavern, is an intimate room that holds an audience of about forty-five who sit barely separated from the performance area. At one point Ferrar and a young man from the audience went through a routine involving a small red ball. Possibly using the ball as a distraction, Ferrar managed to ‘transport’ the man’s watch from his wrist to that of an associate standing at the back of the room. Another of the more dazzling moments of the performance had audience members write down a random item and random color on slips of paper and insert them into a box. Later Ferrar wrote three items on other bits of paper, sliding them into a paper bag. He called on three audience members to mention a recent experience and then had three different people open the papers from the bag. Presto—what he had written exactly mirrored the doings that had been shared. 

Throughout the performance, which he treats as though he were at a private gathering which he well might be as he takes his gig to any kind of bash—be it birthday celebration (dog or person), wedding, corporate event or Bar Mitzvah, Ferrar demeans himself slightly, an approach that helps keep him approachable and relating companionably with the audience. “Experience is always manipulated,” he said several times, a sort of leitmotiv. At one point, he pulled back the curtain separating the front from the rear of the stage revealing a pool table; invited the audience to gather around it and enlisted someone to break, first announcing which ball would land in a particular pocket. When the pool player insisted on breaking from a preferred position, Ferrar re-estimated the ball drop and nailed it.

Along the way there was a little storytelling and a lot of good-natured kidding. Ferrar has worked with numerous A-list clients including Google, Facebook, Macy’s, Absolut, The Ritz Carton and others. He has been a magic consultant for Samsung television commercials; performed for the celebrity judges of America’s Got Talent; is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and given private magic lessons to celebs like Ralph Lauren. His show is deliberately intimate and feels improvised even though he makes a point of explaining that the entire work is scripted. 

For $49 which includes the performance and two drinks (beer, wine and soft drinks) you can have a delightful evening with Ferrar. Nothing Here is Real is a great date night event as noted by several audience couples but it’s also a good time for any adult who enjoys clever routines and a charming host. Spending a Tuesday evening with Gary Ferrar is an off-beat way to have a lot of fun.

About the author

Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer who contributes to many magazines and websites. Her blog, But I Digress… , on cultural events, travel, food  and other topics is at She lives in New York City.

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