It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great festivals to look forward to! This month we are talking to acts performing at an array of festivals to find out more about their sets and what they have planned for their shows. Today we are talking to someone Magical in the form of magician Tom Brace who is taking his debut show up to the Fringe and is looking forward to wowing audiences. I caught up with Tom to find out all about his show.
Name Of Show: Tom Brace: Brace Yourself (It’s Magic Time!)
Date: 1st – 12th August
Location: Pleasance Courtyard – The Green (Venue 33)
Hello! Tell us about yourself Tom!
So I am a magician, i’m 25 and I am from Essex originally but now I live in Tottenham! I’m currently writing my debut show for Edinburgh this year, but I’m struggling as ITV2 annoyingly scheduled Love Island on every night and I’ll admit, it’s thrown a spanner in the works…..
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the fringe?
I used to work for the Fringe and me and my pals always used to joke that if I was to ever take a show up to the fringe, I’d have to call it Tom Brace: Brace Yourself. When eventually I realised that the whole show/performer thing was becoming a reality, I desperately tried to think of anything other than that but nothing worked as well! I think at one point it was called Bracement Jaxx…..
Tell us a little bit about your style of magic?
So I like to consider myself a family act, something for everybody! It’s all very light hearted and cheeky. I realised there was lots of children’s magic shows and lots of adult magic shows, so I wanted to present an old school variety type of magic. Something that appealed to everybody and was a little modern and most importantly fun!
What will your set be about?
So my show is all about my life as a magician and my interactions with an Alexa/Siri-esque AI whom I have built called Trixby. It sounds kind of weird but he’s my virtual assistant and he teaches my tricks. The whole show builds up to the finale where I attempt to catch a signed paintball in my mouth fired from a paintball gun, by a spectator! Rehearsals have been…..interesting.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
All of the other magicians! A big inspiration of mine is the fantastic Pete Firman, so really looking forward to that. Also Mr Swallow and the Vanishing Elephant is going to be incredible. Nick Mohammed has created such a brilliant character and the magic is always fantastic and never shoe horned in. It’ll sell out quickly, so definitely a pre-booker!
Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
So I actually worked for the Fringe for 3 years managing a venue’s Street Team! I love some of the big one-off spectaculars, such as The Pleasance’s Wrestling which pits comedians against wrestlers. there’s always such a great atmosphere and I think it really captures what the fringe is about. Trying big bold ideas and having lots of fun!
Some acts have already tried it and done shows in the environment but do you think virtual reality has a space to be used in magic and what other modern technologies do you think could alter the way we interact and watch magic?
Gosh it’s scary isn’t it! Derren Brown is already using VR in his Thorpe Park Ghost Train which I’ve heard is fantastic! (I’m genuinely a little too scared to go on it….) I’m definitely open to these technologies. I think as performers we have to roll with the times and not be scared of using tech in our shows. A large part of my show is obviously this Alexa style assistant as I think it’s so easy to relate to these days. Everybody has one! I think magic has to be relevant. New audiences want new things. We can’t just ignore these ‘cos we’re scared!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Ooo yes! So I’m on Facebook and Instagram as Tom Brace Magic.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Pay. My. Bills.
ED FRINGE QUICK FIRE ROUND
The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?
Writing a show worthy enough! You want it to be the best it can possible be!
What three items are essential for a successful Fringe?
Flyers, Raincoat and paracetamol
What’s the secret to successful flyering?
Ooo this is my specialty. Talking to people. Listening to them and not just talking at them. Get to know people and talk about your show. It’s a waste of tree’s to just blindly hand out paper!
What are the best venue’s at the fringe?
They’re all fantastic. They all work so hard and it’s no easy feat to put on such a massive operation. I do however of course have a soft spot for the Pleasance.
MAGIC QUICK FIRE ROUND
How did you get into magic?
Walked into International Magic in Clerkenwell and met Martin Macmillan. He is the owner of the shop and he is fantastic. I would urge any aspiring magician to pop in and have a cup of tea with him!
Favourite magic trick to perform?
Ooo difficult! It really does depend! I do a mean trick with an invisible pack of cards…..
Most challenging magic trick to perform?
At the moment it’s the paintball catch. It’s genuinely a little scary and there’s very little margin for error. Why do we do this to ourselves? For entertainment?!?!
How does it feel doing magic to a live audience?
It’s amazing. There’s nothing quite like live performance. It should also be a two way thing. Anything could happen and you should absolutely go with it! If an audience member is having fun, I’m having fun.
Who are your magic inspirations?
Too many to list here! Of course there’s classic. Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels etc. Of recent times, Pete Firman and Nick Mohammed/Mr Swallow. They both crack me up!
If people want to learn magic what trick should they learn first?
Go to a magic shop. Honestly! Go to international Magic in London and tell them you want to learn magic. They’ll talk you through everything, make sure you are buying suitable things and most importantly you are supporting the very few brick and mortar shops left. Don’t learn tricks from youtube. You’ll never truly reach perfection!