Following hit Fringe shows and TV shows, magicians Barry and Stuart return to the London stage with their 2011 production Show And Tell. The first half sees the affable Scottish duo perform a number of mystifying feats. After the break, they reveal exactly how the tricks were done. The pair will be at Jacksons Lane this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (7-9 Feb).
Doesn’t The Magic Circle frown upon magicians revealing secrets?
Yes, in fact the Magic Circle have a rule that any members caught revealing secrets to the public will be kicked out. However, they can’t kick us out because we are not members. The only thing they could do is kick us in the bollocks perhaps.
In 2007, Bishop Michael Reid, founder of TV watchdog the Christian Congress for Traditional Values, branded you “fraudsters” and said “They could try being crucified to see if they can rise three days later.” Were you tempted to try this?
We couldn’t believe that, a Bishop calling for our crucifixion. We would love to try it out but not sure that an audience would sit through a three day long magic trick. Also, we couldn’t take any more of Jesus’ repertoire without completely doing his act.
Given a million quid and any spot in London, what magic trick would you like to pull off?
I think, given that money we would perform the vanishing million pounds illusion atop the Bank of England. It vanishes and does not come back. What the audience will not see is the series of mirrors transporting the stack of cash from the rooftop into our personal bank safe in the building below. Poof!
You’ve been together for quite a while. How do you keep your professional relationship fresh?
We have been working together for over ten years now. We each have totally different interests and are always taking new ideas and concepts for shows back into what we do. When we are on tour, whenever our eyes are open, we are together. We spend a lot of time talking about new material and television projects. When we have some time to ourselves, Stuart plays music and Barry draws. You can see Barry’s work on our website’s blog.
What’s your take on audience participation? Some magicians barely use it, some have it as a core element.
We hate when magic is all about the magician showing off and love to give audience members the chance to look like they are doing the magic. The best thing about it is that we never have any idea what random audience members will do on stage. It can add some real chaos into the show, we have had people do the craziest things on stage and we have to somehow deal with it.
There’s a part of the show where Barry is completely tied up with one hundred foot of rope. We didn’t know it at the time but, on one occasion, the audience volunteer who we’d chosen to do the tying was in the Navy. Barry was tied up so tightly that he actually passed out on stage. Meanwhile, the audience thought this was part of the show and Stuart was left thinking “can I finish this trick on my own? Will Barry die?” [Spoiler: Barry survived.]
Who would you recommend from the current crop of entertainers?
On the cabaret scene we love Joe Black. He’s an amazing pianist and his humour is as dark as his last name. In terms of magicians, make sure that you go and see Pete Firman who’s also currently touring. You’ll be amazed and you’ll laugh too.
Finally, your joint twitter account has around 20,000 Twitter followers. How important is social media to you professionally?
It is strange nowadays that it has become so easy to contact almost anybody and ask them almost anything (provided you don’t exceed 140 characters). The annoying thing for us is that some of the most interesting stuff that happens to us is secret, so we can’t tweet about it.
When we locked Craig Revel Horwood in the boot of a car that was going to explode, we explored different explosives to work out where was best to put them in the car to cause maximum damage. Fun stuff but we couldn’t tell anyone about it at the time. That is why “Show and Tell” is refreshing for us. We finally get to tell the audience about the things we normally have to keep a secret.
Barry and Stuart will be at Jacksons Lane from 7-9 February. Tickets are £14.95/£12.95 and full information can be found here.
Last week, fellow magicians Morgan and West picked their their own favourite conjurers. Read their suggestions here.