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Victorian Magicians travel through time for spellbinding new show in Romford

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 May 2017

Morgan and West.

Morgan and West.

Archant

Morgan and West’s shows are unlike anything else you’ll find going on the magic circuit.

Forget that they’re time travellers or wear garments taken straight from a Dickens’ novel – what separates these friends from the rest of the pack is the hilarious dynamic between them.

Rhys Morgan and Robert West, both 30, met at Oxford University, studying physics and chemistry respectively, and performed in the student theatre but neither of them had an interest in magic at the time.

“We started doing shows together and whilst we were doing that and ignoring our degrees we both got into magic,” said Robert.

“If you told us both when were 19 that we’d be full-time magicians we would have thought, ‘you’re thinking about someone else mate’.”

The illusionists credit Derren Brown as their biggest influence.

Robert said: “When I was in university I played poker with my friends, not for money just for fun. I learnt to shuffle decks of cards in my hand and the flashy things you see in James Bond films.

“From that I started to find my way into sleight of hand with cards.

“It was a hobby to be honest, we’d do it in our spare time. It became the thing we did to pass time and we would watch magic tricks and see how they’re done.

“Derren Brown was big on TV at the time and his book Tricks of the Mind was out and we would spend our evenings watching Derren and trying to work out the process.

“There’s a real beauty to the skill of magic, it’s either so complicated it’s genius or so simple it’s incredibly elegant.”

Ten years later and the pair have appeared on shows such as Penn and Teller: Fool Us and The Slammer. But it has been a long and steep learning curve.

“Within a year of starting we did our first show – which was rubbish,” recalls Robert. “In the early days when we did mess up we’d be really annoyed with each other.

“We screwed up everything, there’s not a trick we have performed that we haven’t done wrong at some point. The best way to do it is to act like it went right, bow and move on.

“The worst thing you can do is stop. If you act like it did work and move on to the next thing the audience thinks they either didn’t get the trick or it wasn’t very impressive.”

Thanks to the success of their TV appearances Robert and Rhys were able to quit their jobs and pursue their passion full-time.

“It was mad because at the time we were doing it (performing) with other jobs as secondary teachers.

“We went on Penn and teller and fooled them, then we went to Vegas and closed their show and on Tuesday morning I was teaching again – it was a very strange experience.”

“It’s nice to get your name out there and people like having us because we are very different - we always strive to be as different as we possibly can.”

In fact, being different is what sets Morgan and West apart and their unique characters allow audiences to indulge in the suspension of disbelief.

“When you come into the theatre there is our parlour on stage and it’s an intimate feeling – it’s a show of mind blowing and baffling tricks, it’s fun and silly and cerebral.

“It will leave you scratching your head thinking how the hell did they do that, which is what we really aim for.

“With our show you know you’re not really in the parlour of two Victorian magicians, audience members aren’t leaning over to their mates saying, ‘I don’t think they really are time-travelling magicians’.”

Morgan and West comes to Brookside Theatre, Eastern Road, Romford at 8pm on Friday, May 26. Tickets cost £16. To book go to http://bit.ly/2qJ0ikJ.


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