For one night only the Kings will be transformed into a world of magic where the audience will be immersed in illusion, mind-bending mentalism and jaw-dropping close-up tricks.
Peter Wardell was the first person to win both the Close-Up Magician of the Year and Stage Magician of the Year Awards at the Magic Circle, and he will be the host for the night.
Magic is a live art form and when it’s done well, there’s nothing that beats it for the sense of theatre it createsPeter Wardell
Also appearing will Marc Paul, a mind-reader and psychological magician who was recently voted Best Mind-Reader by his peers at the prestigious World Magic Awards in Los Angeles; Michael Fairall, one of the most in-demand professional close-up magicians in the country today; and the highly-acclaimed Amethyst – international illusionists Danny Hunt and Stephanie Clarke.
Peter got his start in magic as a street performer in Covent Garden for about 15 years.
‘For me, magic is more about the performance than the trick – the trick is really just the mechanism to entertain. The desire to entertain meant that I had to learn the trick.
‘I’ve got an engineering background so I liked the technical aspect of it, and it fascinated me all the way through to adulthood, and here I am, an accidental magician, as I like to put it.’
Peter was invited by the Kings to put on this night.
‘Magic is very popular now, it’s having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, but as a magician, I’d say it’s been having a renaissance for 20 years or so, it’s always been popular.
‘But what people think is magic now is the three-minute segments they see on Britain’s Got Talent, or wherever, and that’s not what professional magic is, that’s not what great magic is about – it’s about great performance, it’s about great suspense, it’s about great theatre, it’s about drawing people into it.
‘Britain’s Got Talent is about having three minutes to impress four people who have no idea, and who are there purely for their own benefit. I’m quite cynical about it all.
‘This is an opportunity to get four acts together who have been working professionally for many, many years – and we know what we’re doing. That’s what the public should be getting, not someone who’s been plucked from obscurity and then put on a show. This is an opportunity to bring these guys from different areas together for this one-off special.’
And they are aiming to make the night more than just what’s on stage. There will be a magic store set up as well as close-up artists working in the foyer and doing walk around magic in the interval.
‘It’s all about magic as a bigger art form, rather than being an element of a variety show.
‘With an adult audience, they’re kind of “Oh, its’ magic,”, he rolls his eyes and sighs, ‘and a bit of cynicism and rightly so I think, but very few people have seen magic done in a modern way, done properly and done with the intention of entertaining a large audience. Magic is a live art form and when it’s done well, there’s nothing that beats it for the sense of theatre it creates.
‘There’s an old expression that an amateur magician does a thousand tricks once, a professional does one trick a thousand times. We have that experience of performing in front of audiences every week.
‘And the Kings has got a fantastic history with magic – Houdini was here, The Great Lafayette was here, (Nevil) Maskelyne and (David) Devant performed here.’
The Kings Theatre, Southsea
Friday, May 19