The art of the illusionist

Britain’s Got Talent llusionist James More chats to about playing with fire

Photo courtesy of KPPR

Photo courtesy of KPPR

Did you always want to be an illusionist?
Yes, actually. I started off when I was about eight years old. I actually made my first trick out of a shoebox. I entered the school talent show and it got the biggest response out of everything that I’d done in the show. All the adults were asking me after the show how I’d done the trick. I think that’s a very powerful thing to an eight year old, it lead me down the magic route. From then on I didn’t really want to do anything else.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I think the best part of my career is what I’m doing at the moment. I’m doing a world tour with the world’s biggest magic show. We’ve played at so many places: the Sydney Opera House, Mexico, Dubai, etc. I have the opportunity to work with some people that inspired me when I first got into magic and I’m now working along side them. The show is called The Illusionists and for me is a lifetime dream come true. I also went on tour with Diversity last year and that was another highlight, especially as I got to play the 02 Arena with an audience of 15,000 people. I was the first illusionist to ever do that.

You’ve said you’ve travelled all over the world. Where is the best place you’ve visited?

My favourite place was probably Japan. It was so different from everywhere else I’d been. The people were really polite and there were many unusual things going on, which for me I think suits my personality. It was certainly the most interesting place I’d been.

How was your experience on Britain’s Got Talent?

Britain’s Got Talent was, for me, the thing that gave me the big push and gave me the opportunities that I’m getting now. Before I did the show magic was the thing that many people often mocked. The funniest thing on these sorts of things is often a magic trick going wrong. So the aim for me was to change the face of what people viewed magic to be. It was getting more and more popular in England, and it was being shown more on TV, so it was a great opportunity for me to get up there and show people how it should be done.

What separates you from other illusionists?

It is just that. There’s a lot of cheating that goes on in televisions and it’s just not the right thing to do. Everything I do in the show I’m able to do live and that’s what’s great about live magic shows. There’s not many magicians going out there and doing it live because they’re not able to do that. People are so used to seeing CGI in movies that creating the impossible is becoming more and more impossible for magicians so it’s a great opportunity for people to see magic with their own eyes rather than seeing it on a screen.

What’s new in your latest show?

I’ve got a modern take on the more classic effects. For example, some of the escapes that we’ve read that Houdini did I’m doing with a modern twist. I’m using a lot of dangerous principles in my magic and I’m also doing a lot of stuff with modern technology, such as screens. However, I’m using modern technology in order to aid magic. There will certainly be a lot of stuff in the show that a lot of people have definitely never seen before. I think magic is more popular than ever before and my show gives people an opportunity to actually come and see it with their own faces.

What are you looking forward to most about the show in Harrogate?

Being back in England. I’ve been away now for a few years and I’m very patriotic, I wanted to be at home doing my show and this is actually the first time I get to do that.

Who is your illusionist idol?

David Copperfield. I watched him as a kid. I still think he’s the best in the world. He’s sold more tickets in his career than Michael Jackson, which is an amazing feat for a magician.

What is the best part of being a magician?

Just doing something that I love. If you’re able to do that in life then it’s the best thing you can ask for.

Lastly, what is your favourite magic trick?

I like anything with a bit of danger. My favourite one that I do is where I’m laying under a number of flaming spikes, which are on a burning rope, which after a certain amount of time come crashing down. If I don’t get out in time, they’re going to kill me but, of course, there’s a magical twist.

My favourite trick that I’ve seen anyone else do is where Australian magician Robert Galert jumped out of an aeroplane in a cage and was able to escape before it hit the floor.

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