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Now that’s magic!

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There’s not a top hat or a glamorous female assistant in sight, Nor will you find a white rabbit hidden away ready to be produced with a flourish.

Magic these days has moved on – and Rob Driscoll and Clint Barron, whose stage name is The Vox Brothers, are among those putting a very modern spin on traditional tricks.

The pair, both members of the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle, love performing and are among a new breed of illusionists making magic cool again.

‘We do magic tricks with a modern twist,’ explains Rob.

‘We’ve taken really old effects like the Bullet Catch (in which Clint fires a ‘bullet’ from a laser-guided catapault and Rob catches it in his mouth) and brought them up to date. The Spirit Cabinet is another old one that’s been done for 150 years or so.’

Clint adds: ‘We do classic effects, but put a new twist on them. We like to do our own versions.’

BBC1’s The Magicians was last year’s Saturday night hit with more than six million viewers and is now back for a new series.

It features magicians who are young, trendy and not afraid to break the rules.

It would be easy to assume that the arrival of CGI, video games and 3D films has reduced the appeal of stage magic. Until The Magicians, magic hadn’t been on prime time TV for 20 years.

But its success proves that a big audience out there still love magic, even though today’s version is a long way from the old stage shows or the wands of childhood magic sets.

Rob and Clint have performed magic ever since they were teenagers and became The Vox Brothers two years ago.

Rob, 37, who lives in Drayton, began by going to an evening class.

He explains: ‘I did a magic course and it really got me into it and I started to do more shows. I’d always liked magic as a kid, but until my mum got me the magic lessons, I hadn’t thought too much about performing before.

‘Now I think magic will always be my life.’

Rob joined the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle in 1995. Today it’s one of the UK’s largest magic societies with nearly 100 members. Clint was already a member when Rob joined and the two became friends.

Clint, 30, lives in Waterlooville with his wife, Rachel, and three-week-old son, Carson.

He says: ‘For me, magic all started with a family trip to London when I was 14. We went into the toy store Hamleys. ‘They always have a magic stand in there and I saw a magician performing a trick and got hooked.

‘I came home, went to my local library and got out every book on magic that I could. I got to know the librarian and she gave me a number I might find useful.

‘It was for the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle.’

After being asked to put on a themed evening of magic for the committee and members, the two quickly realised that their styles worked well together.

From then on they began performing as a double act.

Rob has been president of the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle four times, while Clint is the current president.

Although they try to modernise magic, they say they are big fans of magicians such as Paul Daniels, who is touring the country with his Hair Today Gone Tomorrow Tour and visits the Kings Theatre, Southsea next month.

Rob says: ‘I think Paul is great. I saw him a couple of months ago and I’m excited that he’s coming to Southsea.’

Rob works full-time as a magician, while Clint works part-time with the act and part-time in a doctor’s surgery.

The pair do shows and events, including kids’ parties and private functions.

Looking to the future, Rob says: ‘I think I’ll definitely be doing magic for a long time. The Vox Brothers is a something we keep building up.

‘We just want to get bigger and bigger.’

n For more information on The Vox Brothers, go to voxbrothers.co.uk or e-mail voxbrothers@gmail.com.

For more information on the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle, go to portsmouthmagic.co.uk.

 

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