impossible head 

THE biggest and most spectacular magic show Birmingham and indeed Britain has ever seen arrives in a puff of smoke, or at least a touch of frost, at the New Alexandra Theatre this week with six international stars.

Three of the magic maestros were in Birmingham recently bringing a taste of the show to the plush Everyman cinema in The Mailbox, where we had a conversation with them about the show and their magic.

It is the first time I have been in the Everyman and it is a lovely, intimate cinema, with sofa seats, tables and foot rests, ideal to watch the latest films in supreme comfort but, designed beautifully as a cinema, and lovely as it is for that, it is a challenging stage for magicians and illusionists.

There are no wings, no flies, little stage area and not a lot of room for error, or anything else, when a blindfolded Jonathan Goodwin is shooting a crossbow at a member of the audience holding a balloon. The balloon was duly burst and the poor volunteer breathed a sigh of relief.

In the show Goodwin, from Pembrokeshire but based in Las Vagas, escapes from a straitjacket. So what, you might say . . . oh, did I mention he is also completely on fire and suspended upside down at the time and the heat can be felt five rows back? Oh, and he also needs to escape to get to the fire extinguisher?

He also manages to catch a crossbow bolt fired at him - not at the same time as the flames and stuff  I must add. He is good but not that good, but it is a real bolt, and really fired, no trick there and he tells us the simple secret of how does it, at least it sounds simple, not that we would suggest you try it at home.

Chris Cox one of the stars of BBC3’s Killer Magic is a mind reader who freely admits he can’t read minds but it has still seen him star in five sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows, four UK solo tours as well as international appearances and he managed some impressive illusions with some equally impressive and funny chatter as he compered the preview show.

And the third member is Magical Bones, Richard Essien, a street magician from South East London, who started his professional career not as a magician but as a hip-hop dancer and renowned break dancer who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Black Eyed Peas and Alicia Keys.

And he manages to incorporate spectacular dance moves into his magic including a spectacular back somersault to catch a selected card - with inches to spare in the confines of the cinema.

The conversation starts with Chris and Jonathan talking about the difficulties of performing in such a small space after the large theatres on the current tour, with Magical Bones then joining in.


Roger Clarke


Other magicians in the show include Lee Thompson: A sure-fire show-stealer whose trademark trickery bamboozles audiences all over the world, Lee has entertained on stage, screen and TV for over 25 years, starring in shows for Cirque du Soleil, Mugler Follies in Paris, Cannes and Hollywood. From physical comedy, misdirection and stylish sleight-of hand to his less respectable talents, he’ll have you flummoxed with his dexterity.

And Ben Hart: Ben invents unique magic which pushes the boundaries of film, theatre and television and tests the limits of illusion, including decapitation, vanishing and levitation. At the age of 16 he won the Magic Circle's ‘Young Magician of the Year’ Award and his most recent show The Vanishing Boy sold-out to astonished audiences. He recently starred in BBC 3’s Killer Magic, where his unique and unorthodox approaches amazed audiences across the country.


Impossible runs at The New Alexandra Theatre from Tuesday, 16 February to Saturday, 20 February.


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