Magician Jamie Raven became a household name after reaching the 2015 finals of the popular ITV show, Britain’s Got Talent. One year on and at the start of his brand new theatre tour, we caught up with Jamie for a chat about his strangest shows, big name performances and past visits to Swindon Town…
Hi Jamie, we were big fans of yours during your time on Britain’s Got Talent and we can’t wait to welcome you to the Wyvern Theatre in June – what can we expect from the show?
Thank you very much! It will be an evening of magic and grand illusion, there will be some of the close-up magic that I have spent the last 22 years of my life learning, some big illusions, and something in between with plenty of audience participation. The show will be suitable for the whole family.
“I have entertained on match days at Swindon Town FC and also did a wedding at Lydiard House, which was beautiful.”
You studied down the road at Bath University, did you ever venture into Swindon with your magic gigs?
I did indeed, seems like a long time ago now, I graduated 12 years ago! At the time, I didn’t get to travel as far out as Swindon for any gigs but in the years since I have entertained on match days at Swindon Town FC and also did a wedding at Lydiard House, which was beautiful.
What’s the best/funniest reaction you’ve had to one of your magic tricks?
I think the best reaction now has to be Simon Cowell giving me a standing ovation and saying “I now actually believe in magic!” The funniest, I think, was Sir Richard Branson ordering me to be thrown off the plane, when I performed for him on the inaugural Virgin Atlantic flight to Detroit.
That’s a pretty cool claim to fame! We’re sure you were inundated with requests for appearances after BGT – where’s the strangest place you’ve performed magic?
Over the years there have been a few. I did a show on the London Eye in one of the pods that lasted the trip around. I was asked to perform on top of an open-air double decker bus in December a few years ago which was freezing. I was also once asked to do a show for 2 people in the back of a stretch Hummer limousine as it took them from a restaurant to a show in London.
Very fancy! Eagle-eyed viewers of BGT spotted, quite literally, a hole in one of your tricks. Do you get annoyed with people trying to catch you out or is it part of the fun?
Not at all! I am not claiming to be magic or have any magical powers, all I am offering is a type of entertainment and trying to provoke people to think and talk about what they have seen. The fun in what I do is the audience trying to work out what they have seen. I just want people to enjoy what they see, enjoy the time that we spend together and leave them wanting to see just one more.
Simon Cowell was bowled over by your skills and we’ve seen you perform for Sir Richard Branson – who would you most like to wow with a trick?
I think I would have to say Peter Kay, I love to laugh and I am such a big fan of everything he does. I think he is a genius, so funny. I loved Phoenix Nights and I got the Car Share DVD for Christmas which I will watch 10,000 times.
You’ve just finished a West End run in The Illusionists at The Shaftesbury Theatre, what’s the ultimate goal? A West End residency? Vegas?
My goal is to just keep doing what I’m doing for as long as I can. I am lucky enough to do (and have done for 12 years) something that I love for a living that makes people smile. At the moment we are trying to get a TV special off the ground. That would be incredible because it would allow me to share with more people what I do. I would love to go back to the West End with my own show, that would be amazing! I would also love to perform on Broadway in New York and the ultimate goal would be, as you said, my own show in Las Vegas. One step at a time though!
A huge thank you to Jamie for his time, we’re very excited for the tour and look forward to welcoming him back to Swindon on Tue 28 June. For more information about the show and tickets see: http://bit.ly/JamieRaven16.
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