Three images from magician themed films

The writer Sonny Arifien asked me to contribute to his blog Privilege of Legends. It explores the art of cinema and film as an art form. His latest post ‘Sleight of Hand: The Magic of Deception’ looks at how cinema grew out of the world of magic. It explores some ways how cinema has kept engaging in the subject of magicians in film ever since. Here’s my chat with Sonny… ON WHY MAGIC ENDURES THROUGH THE AGES Sonny: Why do you think magic continues to capture our hearts and imaginations? Christopher: I think magic answers to basic desires in the human condition. Imagine how it would be for example to change something in the world with a click of your[…]

If you’ve seen a big Broadway or West End show recently with magic in it, it’s quite likely that magic consultant Paul Kieve was the man casting spells behind the scenes. Here’s the second part of my fascinating interview with Paul. We sat down in his kitchen last year and he let the stories roll… Christopher: It’s always struck me that lots of magic in fact isn’t very magical. You get to work on shows with narratives and help weave the story with the magic. I think there’s the potential for lots more magic when you skilfully blend it with a story. Paul: There’s a lot of blag in the magic world – I mean people shouting off about their achievements[…]

What do Lady Gaga, a string of Broadway musicals and Harry Potter all have in common? The answer is magic consultant Paul Kieve. He’s accumulated an impressive list of projects he’s consulted for, adding magic to shows that tell stories. I did a degree in theatre and I’ve always been interested in storytelling. So what Paul does using magic to help tell stories I’ve always thought is some of the most magical magic out there. I sat down with Paul a few months ago over coffee to chat about these things and have finally managed to get it in writing. Here I am with Paul talking about how magicians can better connect with their audiences, the ‘problem’ of the magician’s ego,[…]

As I walked through the drizzly December morning in the once shishi Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens after my interview with magician Kevin James, I couldn’t help but think that a hundred years of entertainment history had come full-circle back to this moment. Over coffee Kevin told me he had discovered that just down the road from where we sat, the Queen’s Head pub had been owned by Charlie Chaplin’s uncle. Chaplin had said that it was the distinctive gait of the stable hand who worked in the stables next to that pub that inspired the most famous walk in entertainment history. Still wonder why has anything come full-circle? OK, here’s the answer: Kevin’s of course the magician who for decades has bemused[…]