David Blaine’s first tour in the UK, Real or Magic, was a spellbinding exhibition, worthy as a Houdini show stunning a crowd from yesteryear. Its a show that will stay with me and all those fortunate to witness this spectacle.
The Apollo foyer was filled to the brim with a who’s who in magic, sprinkled with celebrities and David Blaine fans alike. The atmosphere had a magical buzz and I met the gracious Marc Spelmann, having recently won second place on BGT with his exceptional act, ‘X’.
David Blaine's demeanour on stage was an almost stoic, perhaps meditative, in preparation for what was to come. Asking the audience if we wished to see a card trick, or a needle and thread trick, the audience re soundly requested for the latter. Those familiar with the needle and thread, its not for the squeamish, especially for those in the audience selected to assist Blaine sewing up his mouth. Later revealing a torn corner of a chosen card to reappear in his clenched mouth.
Also sprouting from Blaine's mouth was fire and water. Blaine has trained his body to become a human dragon and fire hydrant, as he guzzled litres of water to douse the flames of a DB effigy he had ignited by spitting fire, after drinking kerosene. It was a visual feast for the eyes.
Blaine then proceeded to perform the cups and balls, or so it would seem. This was a crafty segue way into his version of ‘smash and stab’, with an ice pick. The ice pick then later found itself piercing Blaine's arm to a gasped audience.
Asi Wind also graced the stage, displaying his magical genius and his dexterity with some Rubik cubes. Much of Blaine's show is masterminded by Asi, and it was a pleasure to see him perform live. Asi displays a great command of the stage with some great comedy throughout his act.
During the intermission I caught up with a former film student of mine, Clint Trofa, who was working with the film crew on Blaine's tour. He was filming the whole show on stage, gaining an excellent view of the show projected on the stage screen.
On that screen, as the curtain revealed the stage again for the second half, a countdown commenced as we were witness to Blaine taking deep breaths from an oxygen tank as he sat upon on the edge of a large water tank. One minute later he immersed himself into the water. What followed was a tense ten minutes as Blaine held his breath throughout. Another sight to behold, as his daughter arrived on stage to see Blaine continue his feat, whilst other audience members were invited on stage to see this miracle at close hand.
Even more of a miracle, after Blaine successfully held his breath for over ten minutes, he recomposed himself and sat on stage answering a few audience questions, before performing another puzzling trick! With the helpful hand of the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, Tom Holland, Blaine performed a trick very similar to that from Dynamos Abandoned Room show.
Real or Magic, wasn’t just any magic show. It was an exceptional display of skill and passion from Blaine, who has dedicated his life to the art of magic. The emotions and memories from the show will be etched on the audiences minds for time. That’s the real magic.