Levitating a member of the audience, eating goldfish, swallowing blades and reading people’s minds is all in a night’s work for super magician Ali Cook.
His critically acclaimed magic and stand-up show ‘Principles and Deceptions’ is on tour after receiving rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival, and is coming to the Hat Factory in Luton on Friday.
Based on an old magic book of the same name, the show features every kind of deception there is, from sleight of hand to mind reading and large-scale illusions.
Ali said: “This is one of the larger tours I have done. Normally we tour with warm-up shows for Edinburgh but this time, the show was so well received at the festival that we decided to take it on tour afterwards.”
The Silver Star associate member of the Inner Magic Circle combines comedy with magic in an original and entertaining way.
He said: “Other magic/comedy acts have been about being bad at magic and trying to get the tricks right and making jokes about it. I have got the magic right but the rest of my life is a mess. So my jokes are about the different failings I have, like being into smoking and so on.”
While he may joke about his “failing life”, Ali’s career is definitely on the up.
As well as performing magic and comedy, Ali has acted in a number of feature films and television shows, most recently in period drama Mr Selfridge.
He said: “That was one of the best things I have ever got to do. I auditioned just before the tour started but hundreds of people audition for these things so you never know, but I got it. We were filming about halfway through tour so it’s been a very busy time but that was a great experience - I had to learn a 1914 London accent. I think Mr Selfridge is a really iconic show and it’s nice to be part of something like that.”
Ali said he enjoys both acting and magic and said: “Weirdly they are really similar - magic is just lying all the time about what you’re doing and trying not to get caught out so it’s not much different from acting.”
Yorkshireman Ali first became interested in magic when he was a child as his mother had a new-age bookshop in Harrogate.
Some of the books that came in were also magic trick books, which sparked Ali’s interest.
He said: “I’d see people coming in for readings and realise the psychology of what was going on. Mum has read tarot since I was about seven, and I became interested in studying the psychology of magic.”
Ali returned to his home town for a magic show last night.
He said: “About two-thirds of the audience were people I knew. I couldn’t get them on stage, it was really hard. It’s always easier to perform for people you don’t know.
“You get a great buzz from doing a live show, but doing a live magic show is harder than performing on TV as a magician. The show at the Hat Factory is one-and-a-half hours long, so you can’t just do tricks, you have to fill it with other elements too like comedy.”
With his latest show described as “ground breaking, awe-inspiring and breathtaking”, he is obviously doing something right.
See Ali at The Hat Factory in Bute Street, Luton, on Friday OCtober 11 at 7.30pm.
For tickets call the box office on 01582 878100 or visit www.thehatfactory.org
Tickets from £3 - £10.