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Magician Jamie Allan performs on Kent stages

Jamie Allan
Jamie Allan

Magic is a way of life for Jamie Allan, who is heading to the county for his most ambitious show to date. Helen Geraghty had a chat with him mid-rehearsal.

When I catch up with magician Jamie Allan, he has just finished sawing a young lady in half and isn’t even out of breath. It seems that sawing people in half isn’t anything like the bother it used to be.

You see, Jamie is no ordinary magician; he is an iMagician, which means such tricks are slickly performed, with a shrug of his shoulders and minimum fuss. No thick curtains, heavy wooden boxes and rusty iron saws for him. An iMagician ‘dissection’ is performed with little more than a pane of glass separating the freshly divided assistant from the watching audience.

Jamie, 37, has never been far away from the world of performing on stage. His parents were involved with Second City Sound, a popular band during the 1960s, and with 1970s group Touch of Velvet.

“I was from Birmingham originally, but we travelled a lot. My dad was a singer/songwriter and mum was a singer, so we toured with the band,” he said.

“Once I was 18, I started off as a jobbing musician in holiday parks. Since then, I’ve been all around the world with magic shows, so this is a home-coming for me.”

Notable successes to date include making Mercedes cars appear from thin air. He has also raised eyebrows by making a Robinson R22 Helicopter vanish live on stage, although he did bring it back.

The iMagician show, coming to Dartford and Tunbridge Wells, is Jamie’s biggest UK show to date. It combines dexterity of hand, traditional magic and modern technology, and introduces concepts such as a full-scale volumetric hologram – a kind of virtual assistant that can interact with Jamie.

Look out for digital art, with which Jamie does things you would never have thought possible with a collection of iPads, bouncing light, or a ball in and out of the devices.

He said: “I was one of the first people to buy the iPad – I was one of the guys that queued overnight for it. I thought from the start that it was great for a magic trick, but it was always a bit too small for the stage. So I thought about it and realised when we had four iPads, it all of a sudden became viable. It has taken us about three years to get the tricks reliable. I finally cracked it a year ago, although with technology you never really know.

“We try to keep a relaxed style so if it goes wrong we can bring it back. Digital art is a fun one to do. It’s interacting with something people have at home.”

Also on the list is a clear glass metamorphosis, which is a very visible twist on Harry Houdini’s classic 1890s illusion whereby Houdini appeared to magically swap places with his wife, Bess. Whereas old-fashioned audiences could attribute the Houdini swap to ‘hiding behind the curtain’, Jamie’s only prop for this trick is a clear sheet of glass, allowing no such scepticism.

Jamie added: “Our show is about the evolution of magicians from the 1800s to the modern day.

“The first half is about the grand masters of magic. We show you some of their illusions, and we show them in our own way – updated.

“In the second half we do magic on Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and there’s a tribute to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. We close the show with a holographic projection.

“Our goal has been to make iMagician the most immersive and sensational magic show in the world. We use spectacular concert lighting, modern and technological magic, grand illusion, great sleight of hand and more than a few laughs.

“You will see magic like never before and be more amazed than you thought possible. That’s my promise!”

Jamie Allan’s iMagician: The Evolution of Magic, comes to Dartford’s Orchard Theatre on Saturday, March 1. Tickets cost £18, £15 for under-21s. Call 01322 220000.

The show returns to the county on Wednesday, March 12, at Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. Tickets cost £20. Call 01892 530613.

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