Magical Bones

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Breakdancing magician and finalist of Britain’s Got Talent 2020, Magical Bones is taking his new magic show Black Magic back on the road from February 2022. Magical Bones brings a fresh perspective on magic with his hip hop style and storytelling. I caught up with him to find out more.

HC: I hear you started out as a hip hop dancer – how enjoyable was that career?
Bones: It was great being a dancer when I was younger, it was amazing. I danced on the street, in dancing competitions. It was a good experience for me as I was able to be very free with my passion and I learnt a lot from different dancers, interacting with different people and performers.

HC: How and when exactly did you realize you had the passion for magic?
Bones: Magic was always a side hobby for me. My mum bought me a magic set when I was 10, a Paul Daniel’s one and it has been quite a serious passion of mine but not something I ever thought I could pursue as a career, it was just something I practiced and read about. It was only when I got a bit older and started adding more ideas into the street dance, and thought about incorporating magic professionally – when you’re out on the streets you’re trying to attract the crowd in all different types of ways and I would make a playing card appear with a body wave to get people to watch the show.

HC: You are a Britain’s Got Talent finalist, how was that whole experience for you?
Bones: It was amazing – it feels like it was yesterday! It was an amazing experience, all the judges were friendly. I was expecting Simon Cowell to be a bit more brutal but he was kind and overall it was a special year as it was all done virtually. It was a unique experience.

HC: Did you have any thoughts/expectations as to how far you could go?
Bones: I just wanted to do my opening audition and see where it took me. I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself about trying to reach the finals or anything. As long as I had a good audition and represented myself well, I was happy.

HC: How much has your life changed?
Bones: it’s changed quite a lot as it’s a big show you’ve get good exposure but because everyone’s life has changed over the last couple of years, we’ve not been able to maximise on that exposure in the same way. It has been crazy though, being on the telly, being with people then being locked down, and now we’re back and I’m raring to go to show people what I can do.

HC: Tell me about this 2022 tour, you’re doing over 20 dates, what can the audience expect?
Bones: It’s a magic show! Magic and illusions, and my twist is that I incorporate my dance background in my routines plus I add in history about black magicians and that’s infused in some of the pieces. People are taken on a journey in the show, about their view of black magic which is usually seen in a negative way, and open up a conversation to change some perceptions and ideas of how people see magic.

HC: How would you describe your style of magic?
Bones: Soulful. It’s inspired by music and the way I do things, how I perform and how it’s presented.

HC: What is your favourite trick to perform and why?
It changes all the time. The one at the moment is called ‘Hip Hop Story’, it was made with DJ Yoda: he mixed some hip-hop tracks together, added a bunch of lyrics and what I try and do is have a pack of cards and execute shuffles to match cards to the lyrics of the song.

HC: Why do you think we are all so fascinated by magic?
Bones: We’re saturated by a certain style of magic and we’re only given one perspective of magic such as top hats, white gloves and pulling rabbits. What is exciting now is there are more stories being told, people want to see different perspectives, we’re seeing a guy from Peckham and his perspective on magic, female magicians and their perspective on magic. There is room to expand on new stories.

HC: What challenges, if any, have you had to face & overcome?
The biggest challenge is being able to execute the ideas without fear of them going wrong. These days everything is a click away before people can see everything, so trying to find performance spaces to make mistakes. With magic, it takes time to develop an act and there will be mistakes, so finding that time and space to make those mistakes is a challenge.

HC: So, if it goes wrong, how do you deal with it when on stage?
Learning from previous mistakes, so when you drop a card for example, the first time is oh dear and maybe the second time you could add a line and make it a funny night. Each mistake you make over the years you learn from and you learn how to adapt to it so when it happens in a new show, you have the experience to exit out of it.

HC: Are you self-taught or are there ‘magic lessons’ you can take?
Bones: Everything is from legends but yes self-taught as in practicing by myself for hours on end, I read books, I go to meetings with magicians to exchange ideas.

HC: I can imagine tricks take hours and hours to practice, but how do you come up with new ones?
Bones: It does. Creativity is one of those interesting things. Sometimes you can force it, sometimes you can’t, it happens naturally, it comes from different things. When I write a show, I try to express ‘me’ and my journey and what inspires me and how I want to present magic, and because it’s a new way of presenting stuff, it’s fresh, it’s exciting – a new story. I’m in a good space at the moment as there are not many break-dancing magicians!

HC: How much is Magical Bones a character and how much of it is Richard?
Bones: ‘The Magical Bones’ is an extension of me, I’ve always been called Bones and that’s what everyone calls me, except my mum. Magical Bones is an extended stage persona, like a superhero version of Bones with these magical powers but it is pretty much me.

HC: Do you have a ritual before going on stage?
Bones: I do get really nervous so I have a glass of water and have to go to the toilet about three times.

HC: What magicians were about when you were growing up and what did you think of them?
Bones: Paul Daniels, David Blane, Penn & Teller, David Copperfield. David Blane is probably one of my favourite magicians as he’s the guy who did street magic and really pushed it.

HC: Do you think magicians think differently from other types of performers?
Bones: Yes I do actually. I think we are trying to make things logical illogical. You have to think of psychology and think how people think and then you need to unpick that. Then all the other things that come with theatre still apply, like music, lighting, managing sound, drama, storytelling and making people believe.

HC: When you are having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Music. Music is the thing that really changes my mood. I like to go for walks too. I enjoy soul music, R&B, music from the 50s and 70s, some old school stuff.

HC: When you are not doing magic, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Bones: I like gymnastics, football and I play chess.

HC:  What do you enjoy about being a magician?
Bones: The biggest thing I enjoy about being a magician is making people smile and feel astonishment, giving them that childlike wonder even if it is only for a few moments.

HC: Who was your most memorable teacher? Why?
Bones: My drama teacher in secondary school and he’s the reason why I perused magic as a serious hobby, he encouraged that.

HC: Who would win a fight between Batman and Spiderman?
Bones: Batman

HC: What’s the least cool thing you’ve done recently?
Bones: I just solved the Rubik’s Cube in under 40 seconds.

HC: What is the weirdest food combination you enjoy?
Bones: Chips and ice-cream

HC: What’s your favourite film?
Bones: Coming to America – the original

HC: On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you? 
Bones: I’m a nine.

Magical Bones


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