Time-travelling gentlemen Morgan & West are touring their magic show. Peter Anderson caught up with the duo…
Q. Who inspired you [Rhys Morgan and Robert West] to get into magic?
Rhys: “Of course, like all of Britain, I grew up watching Paul Daniels on television on a Saturday night. Then I was a big fan of Derren Brown and I loved going to see his live shows. I bought his book Tricks of the Mind one Christmas when I was 20 and there were a few little tricks in it – coin vanishes and such. I started learning those and got hooked.”
Robert: “I spent much of my youth learning to juggle
different things and enjoyed learning new ‘tricks’. Magic was a logical, if somewhat backwards, progression from this when I was at university [Christ Church College]. That and fancy card shuffles were good to make it look like was really good at poker when playing with friends.”
Q. When did you both decide to work together?
Rhys: “We met at university doing a play.”
Robert: “Yes; a student production of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters.”
Rhys: “I was The Fool and you were Hwel the dwarf, as I recall. We bonded over a shared sense of humour and also how the lighting design wasn’t great.”
Robert: “I spent a lot of time in college doing technical theatre so
Rhys asked me to light his next show.”
Q. Is there somewhere where you’d love to perform your magic act?
Rhys: “I think we’d both love to have our own West End run.”
Robert: “Successful West End run!”
Rhys: “Yes, I suppose anyone can just hire a theatre and do a show to an empty room. That would be awful.”
Q. How did you come up with the concept for this new Time-Travelling Magicians show of yours, and what can the audience expect?
Rhys: “Morgan & West started life as a very serious, Victorian-style act but we quickly realised that we liked being silly.”
Robert: “And Victorians, as people imagine them, weren’t silly…” Rhys: “They were not amused. So, the idea of keeping the look, which we really liked, whilst bringing the act to the modern day appealed. And thus, the time-travelling escapades of Morgan & West came into being.”
Robert: “So, the shows themselves are full of really good magic, lots of our own takes on classic tricks and also plenty of new stuff too. All topped off with silliness, humour, and charm.”
Q. You are also presenting a children’s magic show. What advice would you give to any child who wants to follow you and have a career in magic?
Rhys: “Spend your time learning from all art forms – literature, film, pictures, theatre – the lot. Join an am-dram group. Learn to perform. The tricks are actually secondary.”
Robert: “And have a fall-back plan. We can still teach if everything goes belly-up!”
For more information about these spiffing chaps, including other live dates, see www.morganandwest.co.uk