When I was nine I went on school trip to the pier at Weston Super Mare. This was the old, faded Victorian pier, before it got burned down. We had all been given a little bit of money by our parents and we were allowed to run around with our friends and spend it (this would never be allowed today!) We went on the carousel, walked through the hall of mirrors where were were as tall as giants and small as imps, clambered through the house of fun with its upside down windows, narrow doors and wobbly stairs. Then we only had 50p left. We walked to the end of the pier, where gaps in the wooden walkway got wider and you could see the grey sea crashing below. We saw a sign: ‘MAGIC SHOW! 50p! and so we paid our money and went in. We found a tiny theatre with red velvet curtains and we sat down in the front row.
My spoken word show The Magician’s Apprentice starts with this true story and goes on to tell what happened when I went up on stage to be the magician’s apprentice and the magic went badly wrong! There is a saying in theatre which is ‘don’t work with children and animals’, this foolish magician worked with both! What happened has haunted me and finally been turned into a performance that explores the secret world of the magician. With a top hat from a junk shop and mail-order wand, a song on my mandolin and a bashed up suitcase I mix fact with fiction, fragments of myth with antique jokes, dazzling fairytales with snippets of science, forgotten folklore with mysterious images on tarot cards. Stories shift from horror to humour, romance to rumour. In this slight-of-hand world objects talk, girls become doves, the magician goes mad and the audience all get a magic spell to take home! The performance asks why apprentices have always been depicted as female and magicians male? Then turns magic on its head with the fabulous fairytale of the most powerful female magician of all, Elena the Wise. Join me as I open my suitcase, find smoke and mirrors, mice and the King of the Jinns, and set off on a fairytale quest for real magic!
“Wings whirred, the air was filled with doves. The doves somersaulted and turned into girls! They pulled off their clothes, ran to the lake and swam, splashing each other. Elena the Wise taught the girls tricks and spells, how to lift a footprint from the mud and make the owner fall in love, collect magpie tuts and nettle pricks and make someone ill or even die. Elena had a magic mirror in which she could see the whole world reflected, even you! The mirror made her mad. Until Elena was no longer wise. Bewitched by her own spells, she started cutting off heads!” The Magician’s Apprentice
Unlock a magical discount by using code STORY10 to book £10 tickets today!