Dapper duo Morgan & West on bringing Victorian-style magic to Norfolk
- Credit: Steve Ullathorne
Magicians, time-travellers and all round spiffing chaps, Morgan & West are heading back to Norfolk with a new show of Victorian-style conjuring that promises to leave audiences baffled, intrigued and amazed.
A dapper duo dealing in Victorian-style magic will have conjuring and comedy up their sleeves when they return to Norfolk in a show that promises to leave audiences baffled, intrigued and amazed.
Magicians Morgan and West claim to have met while studying at Oxford in the late 19th century, but, thanks to a prototype time machine, they have arrived in the modern day armed with a hatful of trickery and mindreading.
The Edinburgh Fringe favourites, who have previously amazed local audiences with their shows A Grand Adventure and Parlour Games, will be performing their latest, Time Travelling Magicians, in Sheringham and Great Yarmouth.
Morgan and West's shows are unlike anything else you'll find going on the magic circuit.
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Forget that they're time travellers or wear garments taken straight from a Dickens' novel – what separates these friends from the rest of the pack is the hilarious dynamic between them.
Their shows combine brain-busting illusion and good old fashioned tom-foolery, conjuring up a show for all the family, where magic and silliness abound.
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Rhys Morgan and Robert West, actually met at Oxford University in the 1990s, studying physics and chemistry respectively, and performed in the student theatre but neither of them had an interest in magic at the time.
'We started doing shows together and whilst we were doing that and ignoring our degrees we both got into magic,' said Robert.
'If you told us both when were 19 that we'd be full-time magicians we would have thought, 'you're thinking about someone else mate'.'
The content of their shows is a secret but these impressively dressed Victorian gentlemen will deliver incredible tricks with flair and style, oh and there is a lot of audience participation. The dashing chaps offer up a plateful of illusion and impossibility, all served with wit, charm and no small amount of panache.
Being different is what sets them apart and their unique time-travelling alter egos allow audiences to indulge in the suspension of disbelief.
'When you come into the theatre there is an intimate feeling — it's a show of mind blowing and baffling tricks, it's fun and silly and cerebral.
'It will leave you scratching your head thinking how the hell did they do that, which is what we really aim for.
'With our show you know you're not really in the parlour of two Victorian magicians, audience members aren't leaning over to their mates saying, 'I don't think they really are time-travelling magicians'.'
The illusionists credit Derren Brown as their biggest influence.
Robert said: 'When I was in university I played poker with my friends, not for money just for fun. I learnt to shuffle decks of cards in my hand and the flashy things you see in James Bond films. From that I started to find my way into sleight of hand with cards.
'It was a hobby to be honest. We'd do it in our spare time. It became the thing we did to pass time and we would watch magic tricks and see how they're done.
'Derren Brown was big on TV at the time and his book Tricks of the Mind was out and we would spend our evenings watching Derren and trying to work out the process.
'There's a real beauty to the skill of magic, it's either so complicated its genius or so simple it's incredibly elegant.'
Ten years later and the pair have appeared on shows such as Penn and Teller: Fool Us and The Slammer. But it has been a long and steep learning curve.
'Within a year of starting we did our first show – which was rubbish,' recalls Robert. 'In the early days when we did mess up we'd be really annoyed with each other. There's not a trick we have performed that we haven't done wrong at some point. The best way to do it is to act like it went right, bow and move on.'
Thanks to the success of their TV appearances Robert and Rhys have been able to quit their jobs and pursue their passion full-time.
'It was mad because at the time we were doing it with other jobs as secondary teachers. We went on Penn and Teller and fooled them, then we went to Vegas and closed their show and on Tuesday morning I was teaching again – it was a very strange experience.
'It's nice to get your name out there and people like having us because we are very different - we always strive to be as different as we possibly can.'
• Morgan & West: Time Travelling Magicians, Sheringham Little Theatre, on February 6, 7.30pm, £14, £12 under-16s, 01263 822347, sheringhamlittletheatre.com/St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth, February 7, 7.30pm, £14 (£12 cons), 01493 331484, stgeorgestheatre.com